AMY Squires says a Coffs Harbour City councillor is giving her area a bad name it does not deserve.
The Jetty businesswoman, who is the joint proprietor of the Hog's Breath Cafe franchise for Coffs Harbour, was annoyed by comments from Cr Jennifer Bonfield at last week's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.
Cr Bonfield, in discussing future development at the Jetty, said she looked forward to having coffee and being able to stroll the Jetty foreshores area in safety and comfort on a hot night.
Cr Bonfield said there were ‘a few too many drug dealers down there and there are things happening in the dark that we don't dare talk about'.
“Her views are quite disparaging to the area,” Mrs Squires said.
“So far I have spoken to 10 or 12 people and I would like to know how she substantiates her claim that it is unsafe to walk down here at night.
“As a business owner in the Jetty Strip, I would like to go on record refuting her unsubstantiated claims about drugs in the area.
“She has absolutely no evidence to support her claim so I will be seeking an apology to all business owners in the Jetty for her callous and misleading comments.
“There has not been a police presence in the Jetty area in the past three-and-a-half years and we have had no break-ins in that time.”
Mrs Squires said the pub- lished crime statistics report for all of Coffs Harbour showed that the ‘hot spots' all pointed to the CBD and Park Beach.
She agreed that the information on the crime prevention website required updating, with statistics online being for 2009.
Figures will be updated in June with 2010 statistics.
Cr Jennifer Bonfield has had a long-standing interest in the Jetty area and presided over the council as mayor at a time when a major plan for the future of the Jetty foreshores and harbour was put forward by the council.
The plan was never implemented because State planning processes changed and planning for the harbour and
foreshores became the preserve of the State Government.
At last Thursday's meeting, Cr Bonfield also said she wholeheartedly supported ‘delicate and careful' development of the Jetty, areas of which are threatened with inundation in the longer term under climate change predictions.
She said because work on the city centre mall was now complete the Jetty was the next area to be considered.
The council's Business Development Unit launched its plans for marketing the Jetty precinct last week.
One of the city's oldest business and residential precincts, the Jetty also contains many of Coffs Harbour's small number of heritage homes and shops.