What’s got the Coffs Coast talking?
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
A chance to cash in on development
HELLO, my name is Jenny Malloy.
I would like to be very clear on my 100% support, for our new gallery space.
Be warned, those who turn their back on creating a meeting point for culture and art, are not supporting a soul for their city.
You need to question why for many there is no social cohesion, no passion, no support and no pride for the city of Coffs. Where is the core of Coffs? Where is the village atmosphere? Where is the meeting place? Where is a recognised iconic landmark for tourism?
Where is the civic pride?
Start creating this urgently needed space sooner than later, otherwise, watch businesses close down, watch investors go elsewhere.
Coffs needs to be on the media map and radar for more than traffic bottlenecks and disconnected shopping strips with closed down and run-down buildings.
Wake up Coffs and catch up.
Art and Culture is the glue that holds a community together and more importantly gives the city soul. Yours sincerely.
Jenny Malloy, local artist.
Who's wearing the 'Big Boy' pants
THE proposed Civic Centre is a worthwhile debate even though our mayor seems to think it has something to do with "mens' pants."
These are some of the concerns I have heard publicly mooted:
1. How will the proposed Civic Centre attract hordes to the city centre, if the current library and art gallery are not doing that - it will be sited just around the corner? Or will the general public suddenly become very "arty"?
2. According to the architects, incorporated into the new design were concepts related to Coffs natural geographical features and environment. However, one wonders how these will be appreciated in the cramped, ugly site on which it will be built. Backed by a multi-storied carpark and surrounded by numerous non-descript buildings. "A lonely little petunia in an onion patch!"
3. And if, I say if, the hordes start arriving, the adjoining carpark will be in continual use, because there is never enough parking in Gordon Street. This means the much lauded open spaces incorporated into the new design, will be flooded with motor vehicle exhaust fumes and noise, including, from the surrounding city centre.
4. If there is any view from this building it will probably be, ironically, from the upper floors where the proposed Council offices will be located. But, unless there are walls around the lower levels, the windows may need to stay covered and the lights on to hide the ugly surrounds of this site.
5. The lack of a performance space in the new design, has brought Club Ex to the fore with a proposed performing space of there own. But one wonders why this should concern Club Ex? Why not have two performance spaces? Or would that be competition?
So, how can these issues be addressed. Simple, build the Civic Centre on City Hill as originally planned, take advantage of the natural environment and display the proposed design in all its glory, get rid of the Council offices and add a performance space.
Lynette F Hyde, Toormina
Will trade-off be airport privatisation?
OBVIOUSLY the mayor, together with a vocal few, are hell-bent on thrusting the residents of Coffs Harbour into endless debt, while at the same time getting rid of one of its most important income producing assets, the airport, all in the name of promoting culture and the arts.
Their original argument was that Coffs is a cultural desert without a suitable performing arts space, but this has been shot down with the recent announcement of the upcoming Elton John concerts as well as the announcement by the C.ex CEO that it intends to soon construct an entertainment centre.
So now the proposed edifice in the city is intended to house not an entertainment centre, but council headquarters with an art gallery and museum tacked on, none of which will generate income to service this estimated $76 million debt (in today's money).
Nevertheless, this group with no background in building or commercial development, choose to ignore the advice offered by those with professional experience and commercial nous who have warned against such a proposal.
Regardless, this group is willing to cast caution to the wind and proceed with a venture full of economic assumptions and little hope of economic viability on the basis that council suddenly needs new headquarters even though the opposite view is held by some within council.
This all seems like 'slight of hand' to me after years of argument by this same vocal minority for a entertainment centre/cultural precinct in the city.
To all those people who think that Coffs is a cultural desert - my family moved to Coffs Harbour from a major cultural centre many years ago for the climate, beaches and relaxed lifestyle, not the opera.
I suggest to those who feel Coffs is devoid of arts and culture to travel to, or better still, relocate to, such a cultural centre and not saddle the residents and future generations of Coffs Harbour with a whopping debt, the extent of which is unknown.
The tourism pull of the arts
THERE is a frequently held view that the "arts" are for some sort of "elite" and not for the majority.
And yet, more people attend artistic venues and events, than attend sporting venues and events.
There is another frequently held view that spending on the arts is not economically sensible. And yet the world travels to Sydney to see its Opera House.
And Australia and the world travel to Tasmania to visit, not the Crown Casino because there are many Crown Casinos, but to visit the privately owned Museum of New Art (MONA).
Both of these splendid and immensely popular venues generating millions of dollars for business, big and small, were built mainly through funds made from gambling, the first through the Opera House Lottery, the latter by the gambling skills of its owner David Walsh AO, who made his fortune by developing a gambling system used to bet on horse racing and other sports.
We would be generally very well aware of the millions dollars lost to poker machines
by residents of Coffs Harbour and the profits they provide to the CEX and other venues.
A solution to the funding dilemma facing Coffs Harbour Council might be to enlist the support of CEX and others, to donate a dozen poker machines to a special arts and cultural fund to help finance the proposal.
In this regard, the State Government may very well provided tax relief on then profits made in this venture.
Greater good for the majority
IF the current mob of councillors think that they know what the people want, or need, in Coffs Harbour regarding the $76 million plus Council office chambers (cultural/civic centre) Let's take it to the vote in next year's council election, at least then the people of Coffs Harbour get their say not a small minority in council.