Rescues, sharks, traffic chaos: top stories of 2020
From dramatic rescues to horror crashes, look back on some of the most popular stories of 2020 from Coffs Coast Advocate editor Janine Watson.
Action group ready for 'world war three' over bypass plans
In January the Coffs Harbour Bypass Action Group was warning it would be 'world war three' if there were any plans to renege on tunnels along the Coffs Harbour Bypass.
At the time submissions on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were being collated.
For Rod McKelvey, a driving force behind the Coffs Harbour Bypass Action Group (CHBAG), it's important to get it right rather than rushed but it will be "world war three" if tunnels are not part of the final product.
"We have the same basic rock like up at St Helena (the tunnel near Byron Bay) and there was no issue about doing a tunnel there so if they turn around and come back with no tunnels and we get cuttings it's basically going to be world war three because that's garbage," Mr McKelvey said.
Details of businessman on cruelty, stalking charges revealed
IN February we reported that in addition to a string of charges in relation to a violent outburst last year, prominent Coffs Harbour businessman Shaun French was facing one of animal cruelty.
Mr French was the owner of Complete Pest Control at the time.
The 33-year-old had been remanded in custody since the outburst at Nana Glen on the night of November 25 and early hours of November 26 last year.
In December he was sentenced to an aggregate term of imprisonment of three years and three months starting from the night of the violent outburst.
His sentence expires on February 25, 2023 with a non-parole period of two years.
This means he will first be eligible for parole on November 25, 2021.
Professor speaks out on Coffs COVID-19 cases
A Coffs Harbour Professor, who says the local Health District has a history of hiding information from the public, spoke out about local cases of COVID-19.
In March Professor Ned Abraham took to Facebook to reveal there were two confirmed cases north of Coffs Harbour.
Professor Abraham is a colorectal surgeon and has worked at the hospital for 15 years.
He is fed up with what he says is a culture of inaction, bullying and lack of transparency at the local health campus.
Swimmers not put off by close encounter with shark
Ron and Vicki Page are regular swimmers at Jetty beach.
In May they had a close encounter with a shark but said it wouldn't be putting them off.
In summer they swim with other regulars, across from the concrete stairs to the timber Jetty at 6am, but with the cooler weather they wait until 11am.
"But it was a bit windy yesterday so we decided to take a walk out along the Jetty instead," Ron said at the time.
"We walked to the end and when we were coming back we heard a lady say there is a shark here. We walked to the north side and there it was coming from beach up towards where the jetty gets wider where the kids like to jump off."
'She seemed so happy before' - those first on the scene share their thoughts
IN July a 59-year-old woman was impaled on mangroves after falling from the boardwalk at Coffs Creek.
Those first on the scene shared their thoughts.
Grace Eksanow was walking along the boardwalk with her friend Sunny Yarnold when they saw the woman ride past with her husband.
"She seemed so happy before it and she just fell over and everyone was frantic," Grace said.
"I called an ambulance and her husband applied pressure and she started to calm down."
Her friend Sunny has also been left shaken by what they saw.
"Me and my mate Grace were walking along the boardwalk at Park Beach and there was this lady who was riding along it and she went to turn around and go back to her husband - and she sort of just fell off, and got impaled through the stomach area with the stick," Sunny said.
"And we were there panicking and called an ambulance. Then the ambulance came and we got told to leave.
"I'm feeling sick...a bit scared...a bit anxious but all right and I just hope she will be fine and that she lives a long and happy life I guess."
Woman hit by ute while walking on Solitary Islands Way
IN September a female pedestrian was hit by a ute in Woolgoolga.
It happened at around 6pm on the Solitary Islands Way near the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple.
There was damage clearly visible to the front driver side of the ute's bonnet.
There had been several serious accidents on our roads in the weeks leading up to the incident.
They prompted Inspector Chris Wilson, Coffs Harbour Duty Operations Manager NSW Ambulance, to urge drivers to take extra care.
"When we are called to any road accident, it is extremely challenging for paramedics. We have so many situations we need be ready for."
Paramedics rush to local man who collapsed in CBD park
In July a man collapsed and died in the Coffs CBD.
Some early reports from the scene indicated the man's car had broken down on the Pacific Highway across from Dan Murphy's and that he had been attempting to push it out of the way before he collapsed.
NSW Ambulance confirmed that around 1.30 they attended the scene to treat a man who had gone into cardiac arrest and that it had been declared a crime scene so no further details were available.
NSW Police media confirmed it was a local man in his 40s and that he died at the scene but there was "nothing to do with a car".
A passer-by saw that he was unwell, in the vicinity of Coff Street near the C.ex bowling greens, but that he couldn't be saved.
Two NSW Ambulance crews attended.
Traffic chaos near Big Banana
In August a four-car smash left traffic at a standstill leading north from town past the Big Banana.
Three cars and a small truck were involved in the smash that happened around 4.30pm.
As people struggle to get home from work and school arterial roads back through the Park Beach area are still heavily congested this evening.
Body found in the water at Marina
About 7.30am on Sunday November 22, officers from Coffs/Clarence Police District were called to the Coffs Harbour International Marina after the body of a man was located in the water.
The death was believed to be misadventure and a report will be prepared for the Coroner.
Coffs Harbour local Kieran Hankinson was on his regular walk this morning and saw police cars in the area.
"I thought they may have been looking for someone, as they drove up and down the roads a few times then flew up the wall (breakwall area) itself, and I was then told by a friend they had found a body as she saw them pulling the body out of the water."