Letter to the Editor: Free camping to free parking

DEAR News Of The Area,

THE State Government has been betting that if it neglects its responsibility to maintain the ‘free camping ground’ at the Jetty long enough, the area will become sufficiently squalid to have residents begging for development just to clean up the mess.

Martyn Yeomans’ letter to NOTA last week suggests this cynical ploy is bearing fruit.

Martyn is half right.

The railway land south of Marina Drive should be opened up as a natural extension of the existing foreshore park, but to solve this confected free camping issue by handing a large tract of coastal land zoned for public recreation over to property developers is pretty dramatic overkill. This irrevocable surrendering of public land would benefit no one but the State Treasury and the lucky developer who lands the project.

There is nothing in it for Coffs Harbour.

Indeed, the proposed development would exacerbate the present traffic and parking issues at the Jetty, creating far more problems than it resolves.

The land is already used for informal overflow parking.

If it were to be formalised, sealed and landscaped as a broad area parking facility under Council administration the Jetty’s parking and free camping problems would be solved at a stroke.

The Government could then avail itself of the Council’s offer of CBD land ideally situated and appropriately zoned for affordable housing (which they constantly assure us is where their heart really is!).

The city might even end up with land usage determined by rational planning decisions rather than the machinations of corporate developers and politicians.

Coffs Harbour.

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