Showground future safe
COFFS Harbour Showground administrator Kate Young says long leases are available for tenants at Coffs Harbour Showground, in spite of a shadow cast on the venue’s future by the council’s new draft open space strategy.
The draft strategy, referring to the soccer field used by the Coffs City United Football Club, says ‘it’s likely that the sports field will not continue to be available in the medium and long term as the Land and Property Management Authority may seek to redevelop the Showground.’
Operations manager for North Coast Football, Bob Harris, said the administrator had told them they would not be able to have a lease any longer than five years; they needed a long lease if they were to spend six-figure sums on lighting and the club ‘felt they were not wanted’ at the Showground.
Ms Young said she did not have authority to approve leases any longer than 12 months and the football club had not asked for a long lease.
Raised rents at the 40ha Showground in the past two years have caused community concern, but there has also been noticeable investment in renovation of the Showground buildings and structures.
Coffs Creative Arts Group treasurer Ken Pay said they had recently signed a one-year $3500pa licence to occupy their Showground Gallery, built by the group 40 years ago. They had wanted a five-year lease but were told they would have to apply to the Minister.
A draft management plan for the Showground is due for completion by July, and Ms Young said she had ‘put forward things I think might work’.
“The general theme is creating more useable and versatile spaces for public use,” she said.