Councillors met at Coffs Central to discuss the Cultural and Civic Space.
Councillors met at Coffs Central to discuss the Cultural and Civic Space. Trevor Veale

Stalemate drags on over Cultural and Civic Space

AS THE stalemate over the Cultural and Civic Space drags on, several councillors set up shop at the Coffs Central Shopping Centre on Monday.to answer questions and listen to concerns.

Continuing her trend of using Facebook to improve engagement with ratepayers, Deputy Mayor Tegan Swan posted her plan to invite fellow councillors and the public along for an informal chat about the project that has divided the council.

Coffs Harbour City Councillors were tied 4-all when deciding whether or not to progress the project at their recent meeting with Mayor Denise Knight using her casting vote in favour of allocating the necessary $76,520,000 and moving it to detailed design and construction stage.

Following the meeting, councillors John Arkan, Keith Rhoades and Paul Amos lodged a rescission motion to revoke the decision.

If this is supported on Thursday evening councillors will then be asked to consider the following alternative:

Do you support the $76.5 million Cultural and Civic Space development?

This poll ended on 25 July 2019.

Current Results

Yes Coffs needs improved cultural and arts facilities, but not at that cost

14%

Yes this development will revolutionise Coffs Harbour in arts and culture build it now

19%

No other alternatives must be sought for this facility

34%

No this is unnecessary use of ratepayers funds

31%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"That council pause from the Gordon Street Civic and Cultural Space until such time as a further report on the art gallery, museum, library, council offices and conference/performance space options are presented to full council."

Councillor George Cecato is one of the councillors who voted to progress the project and says he "absolutely, definitely" will not be jumping ship to support the rescission motion on Thursday night.

 

Councillors met at Coffs Central to discuss the Cultural and Civic Space.
Councillors met at Coffs Central to discuss the Cultural and Civic Space.

 

Cr Cecato was at Coffs Central on Monday to express his support for the project that would include a new library, art gallery, museum and council offices.

"Since 2014 I personally have attended over 20 consultation meetings about this project both as a member of the chamber of commerce and as a councillor.

"I can say that I have properly analysed it and after the five years I have spent on this I have come to the conclusion it's the right way to go."

Between 9.30am and 4pm the majority of councillors spent some time at the upper level of the shopping centre answering questions and listening to people's views.

Some accused council of being deliberately deceptive and misleading, calling it a Cultural and Civic Space when the plans do not include a performing arts centre.

Others echoed the concerns of former Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser who has been very vocal in his criticism saying it would be Coffs Harbour's "glasshouse" in reference to Port Macquarie's infamous overspend.

Councillor Sally Townley was also at Coffs Central on Monday and has indicated she will not be wavering in her support of the project.

A councillor will need to have a change of heart before Thursday night's meeting for the stalemate to be broken.

Currently it appears councillors Michael Adendorff, Denise Knight, George Cecato and Sally Townley are in support of the project with Paul Amos, Tegan Swan, John Arkan and Keith Rhoades against it.



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