Letter to the Editor: Managing land for public recreation?

DEAR News Of The Area,

AT the recent Council meeting, the Mayor and his supporting Councillors agreed to open a legal battle with the State Government to try to acquire some land on the Jetty Foreshores by compulsory acquisition.

So not only are they prepared to spend $6.7 million of ratepayers’ funds on their pet project, they now plan to pay lawyers many thousands of dollars on a legal battle that many Councillors indicated would have little chance of success.

If that’s not enough, we have the Mayor and his supporters talking virtuously about buying land for public use and recreation.

Well, here’s a reality check.

Council already controls the land and gardens around the Jetty Foreshores Boardwalk area, where millions of dollars were spent just a few years ago.

I was down there last week and as a local, I was embarrassed at the appalling mess that the gardens were in.

There has obviously been no maintenance for a very, very long time.

Many of the gardens were infested with weeds and grasses and any tourists visiting these “public recreation” areas would take away a very negative impression of our city.

I urge residents to go and have a look at how Council looks after the land it does control on the Jetty foreshores.

So, if Council has made such an embarrassing mess of these gardens, how can we trust them to maintain the far larger area that some Councillors want to buy?

To make matters worse, the General Manager has announced that Council now has $28 million.

In a fund that could be used to buy more foreshores land for public use.

The obvious question therefore is – if Council now has plenty of spare cash, why hasn’t it spent some of this money on maintaining the gardens it already has, not to mention the other community facilities that were postponed last year.

This Council seems to have forgotten that it’s here to serve the residents, not spend their money on projects that Councillors like.

Patrick WALTERS,
Coffs Harbour.

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