IN SUPPORT: Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser was among many community figures who attended the Coffs Harbour Fishing Club's support rally this morning.
IN SUPPORT: Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser was among many community figures who attended the Coffs Harbour Fishing Club's support rally this morning. Claudia Jambor

Voices heard on Fishos’ future

BIG calls were made by some of the Coffs Coast's biggest names about the future of the Coffs Harbour Fishing Club at this morning's rally.

Politicians, councillors and community figures were among strong numbers who turned out at the club to fight for the Fishos to stay open.

Points for and against an extension of the Fishos' lease was heavily discussed at today's rally.

Extending the lease beyond 2021 is crucial to the Fishos' redevelopment plans moving forward according to the club.

The Fishos' financier, Harry Barry of the North Coast Hotel Group hit back at claims made by Mayor Denise Knight on radio this morning that reinforced the council's stance the club didn't meet State Government requirements to extend the club's lease beyond 2021.

"The information that's required for us to meet the criteria outlined by the minister's office is all within the report that we've generated that's the key point," Mr Barry said.

Mr Barry said an open tender had proved ineffective in the past and he doubted the process will work now.

"The landlord is saying they clearly don't want us as a tenant and unless they change their tune and say 'please help us out' or none of us are going to want to do it I think for the site," he said.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser called it "petty politics" and said the power to extend the lease was vested with the council.

"You (council) can blame me, you can blame the State Government but the reality is you have the authority to extend the lease," Mr Fraser said.

Coffs Harbour City councillor Mark Sultana said he and at least two other councillors were in support of the Fishos.

Cr Sultana said his support of the Fishos was "a no brainer".

"At the end of the day, why wouldn't you fully support what is going on here at the fishing club, they've put forward a vision they have a plan, council is going to be making a lot more money from rent instead of waiting six years to do it," Cr Sultana said.

The councillors will vote on the future of the Fishos in an open forum at the council meeting tomorrow night at 5pm.



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