Caz Heise Concerned About Jetty Foreshore and Waterfall Way

CAZ Heise, the Independent candidate for Cowper, is urging the community to forensically study the latest State Government’s Master Plan for the redevelopment of Coffs Harbour’s iconic Jetty Foreshores.

Ms Heise said she was speaking out after hearing concerns from a growing number of residents.

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She said, “I know the redevelopment is a State Government issue, but the Federal Government has made significant investment in the Jetty precinct, and so it is imperative that redevelopment at the Foreshores is endorsed and supported by the local community.

“Over the years people have repeatedly said they don’t want to see large tracts of public land converted into expensive private assets or concrete recreation areas and carparks, and yet that’s what this Master Plan is focused on.

“People have also repeatedly rejected the notion of residential accommodation east of the railway line but the Master Plan incorporates up to 300 units in blocks up to six stories high fronting Jordan Esplanade.”

Ms Heise said she had told Coffs Harbour Mayor Paul Amos that many people were also worried that the State Government is rushing the process so it can cash in on developer interest.

“In my many discussions about the Master Plan I’ve also heard Indigenous elders express concerns about how culturally significant sites will be protected into the future.”

Ms Heise is also advocating for a long term, sustainable and disaster-proof alternative to Waterfall Way.

She said, “It was great to see our State and Federal members and local Mayors coming together in March to discuss solutions to the many problems faced with maintaining the connection between the coast and the tablelands during times of flooding.

“Waterfall Way is an essential link for the community and business and every time it is closed the cost to the local and national economies runs into millions upon millions of dollars.”

Ms Heise said a thorough scientific case study is needed to minimise the risks posed by flooding and landslides, and to engineer long term solutions to ensure freight and people can safely move between the Dorrigo Plateau and the coast.

“Climate modelling suggests we are in for more frequent and severe storm and flood events in the near future, so it is imperative that weather-proofing Waterfall Way and Eastern Dorrigo Way is a national priority and that it is done properly.”

She said if more than $870-million can be promised for a dam at Dungowan near Tamworth that is not supported by business or environmental evidence, weather proofing this vital trade and tourism route should be a no brainer.

Ms Heise said, “I will also advocate for upgrading Armidale Road to ensure freight and people can safely travel between the New England and the Macleay when Waterfall Way is out of action.

“Upgrading both these roads will open up new economic and tourism related opportunities as well as ensure safer travel for local residents, so it’s a win-win solution that should not be put into the too hard basket.”

By Andrew VIVIAN

One thought on “Caz Heise Concerned About Jetty Foreshore and Waterfall Way

  1. Here is just one take on it.

    The NSW government that makes the claim that it is not proposing to enter into such an arrangement (sale including rezoning) for the purpose of achieving a nett profit. To achieve this, it states that any profits achieved by the sale of the vacant railway land will be directed back into the community.

    From which, it would seem that any subsequent profits would be made by the private developer/s (which we must accept is a primary purpose of their existence). Therefore, the state government is proposing the sale of a portion of vacant land (that is not open to the public) to fund the development of land that is open and used by the public.

    The greater the sale price of the unused land, the greater the opportunities to develop the public land. Achieving a greater sale price requires that the state government make the vacant land as attractive as possible to potential purchasers for development.

    The primary tool here is the rezoning, as this provides controls for the permitted use and development of the land. Therefore, a zone that allows more land uses and broader development opportunities will achieve a greater sale price.

    As l understand it, the current draft includes rezoning the land to the Mixed-Use Zone (MUZ). The MUZ allows for (amongst other things) more residential uses in the mix.

    This may be seen as consistent with state and federal government policies to include, wherever practicable, more residential uses to assist in the current housing crisis. However, it seems that many in the community are against this. It would seem that there are two (or perhaps three) reasons for such public opposition.

    The first is that it is unlikely that the new apartments/townhouses would be affordable to those looking to enter the market, from which the argument is extended to say that these new apartments/townhouses will not assist in alleviating the housing affordability crisis.

    However, it is likely that a number of the apartments/townhouses will be taken up by purchasers looking at downsizing for lifestyle reasons, which will free up existing larger housing stock for younger families.

    It may be argued that the downsizer’s house is unlikely to be an entry level house. This may be true in many instances, however freeing that house up adds to the available housing stock more broadly. To draw an analogy, if a Major was promoted to General, this would allow a Captain to become a Major, which allows for a Sergeant to become a Captain, a Corporal to become a Sergeant, and a Private to become a Corporal. The creation of a space at one level will free up space for those moving up, which in turn frees up space for those below.

    The second reason seems to be the real or perceived view that creating residences east of the railway line will provide an ‘enclave of privilege’. This may or may not be true, and to the extent that it is, it may be argued that such an enclave of privilege already exists directly west of the railway line (where 99% of the population cannot afford to live).

    A potential third reason for opposition may be found in the ideological argument that the railway land is government land, and it should remain that way. Putting aside ideology – from a practical perspective, this government land is not public land, to the extent that the public have never been able to access it or use it. Other than being a buffer zone, this land exists without purpose, and neither you nor I (the public) can use it.

    Does this mean that I am personally in favour of the current draft masterplan? No.

    However, if we accept that the fundamental reasons for opposition are a) the inclusion of a significant amount of residential development, and b) the bulk and scale of development (particularly height), then perhaps there is an opportunity to explore other zones, such as the Business 2 Zone, which is more restrictive.

    Would the Business 2 Zone provide a realistic compromise?

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