Open space plan rejected
COFFS HARBOUR has given an overwhelming thumbs down to the city council’s controversial draft Open Space Strategy.
Residents fired in a staggering 1100 submissions on the plan during the public exhibition period which closed on Friday and of those, an estimated 900 were opposed to any sale of public land in the city, a council spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.
About 100 angry residents rallied at Brelsford Park on Sunday.
Residents called for the council to Save Our Open Space (SOS).
The protestors said they were as determined as ever to ensure a mass sell-off of public land doesn’t happen and they will continue to lobby councillors.
“We hope the councillors will question aspects of the strategy and not adopt it in its current form,” one of the rally organisers, Peter O’Brien, told the Coffs Coast Advocate.
“We need to stop the council from developing, developing, developing and we hope as many people as possible will attend the council chambers when the matter comes up for debate.”
A public backlash had forced the council to extend the period for public comment on the proposal.
The council said it has sought community feedback on the suggested sales of 15 land parcels identified in the draft as ‘possibly surplus’ to requirements.
These are at Sunset Avenue, Crabbe Street, Norman Close, Lights Street, Topaz Drive, Parkes Drive, Bellwood Place, Manning Avenue, Island View Close, Greenlea Crescent, Peterson Road, Robert Garrett Street, Burridge Avenue, Bray Street and Dirrigeree Crescent.
The council’s city services division will now prepare a report on the public consultation and any revisions to the strategy and it is envisaged this report will go to a full council meeting in July.
Councillors will then have the opportunity to debate the issue and either reject the strategy or give it the green light.
The issue had its genesis in the council’s review of the 1998 Open Space Strategy and the development of the new draft, which has been on display since March 26.
“A recommendation of the strategy is to consider the disposal of parcels of open space that add little value to the overall open space network but could provide a community benefit if used for a different purpose,” said a council letter to local residents.
“The strategy recommends that funds generated from the sale of land be used to improve open space opportunities in that neighbourhood.”
The council has told residents even if the draft strategy is adopted, it would have to undertake more detailed investigations before land earmarked for disposal was sold.