OPINION: Some questions about the Cultural and Civic Space


DEAR News of the Area,

WHAT a wonderful asset the Cultural Centre will be for Coffs Harbour when completed.

This new $76m building will put Coffs Coast on the map as a Regional Tourist Attraction.

Congratulations to the anonymous committee who decided on the design of the building and secretly rushed it through to the DA approval and tendering stage.

Now the first sod has been turned without any fanfare for such an historical event.

My questions to Council are –

.  Who decided on the final design?

.  Why weren’t a number of designs put forward for public scrutiny, input and approval?

.  What part does Council play in Culture?

.  Why isn’t Council on the ground floor, giving street level access to the public, as at present?

.  Is Council building new premises for themselves at ratepayers’ expense?

.  Will Council now be opening all of it’s offices to the general public or will a third of the building be inaccessible to the public?

.  What provision has Council made for extra public parking anywhere in Coffs to comply with all new build DA’s?

.  Why does the Art Gallery and Museum still have to store valuable artefacts off-site in rented premises (ongoing costs)?

.  What consultation was made with 18-30 year olds to ascertain their needs for evening/weekend entertainment other than football and alcohol, e.g. weekly held dancing/concerts.? Young people are the ones who will inherit the debt.

Yes, we do need a Cultural Centre – one that creates its own income and is fully accessible to the public.

One that is adequate (1000 seats), undercover, with the right acoustics for Opera, local/overseas artists, eisteddfods, theatre performance, etc.

You could even open Coffs first ‘fine dining’ restaurant on the rooftop for before/after performance dining.

Do it once and do it right.

Regardless of what the Mayor says the rates are guaranteed to rise dramatically, but what do I know?

I lived through the Port Macquarie Glasshouse debacle of $6.7m blowing out to $67m+ (final figures never declared), the sacking of the Council for mishandling a multimillion dollar project, Administration for 4 years, re-election of new Council.

Port Council did not have the gaul to include themselves in the build.

By the way – Port Council Chambers and Library are a 15 minute walk out of town.


Boambee East.

2 thoughts on “OPINION: Some questions about the Cultural and Civic Space

  1. Gee Freda . You must live under a rock. I have lived in Coffs for 7.5 years and knew about this from the get go. The initial designs were thrown out to the public for comment. There were public meetings with the architect ( a Coffs High boy). There was public consultation from the get go. Maybe you were never really interested so didn’t bother to find out? I can’t understand how you find it galling to provide good working conditions for local community members!! It makes perfect sense to not have staff spread across 3 buildings, not only is it cost saving but it is efficient.. it is also more convenient for anyone who had to go between the 3 buildings. As for access of course there will be a lift, we have many disabled in the community who will have access. Your opening statement is the only thing I find relevant.

  2. I also attended the public meetings over the last two years or more, and was excited right from the start to have such a wonderful asset in the city to match the world class sporting complexes and great natural beauty. Bring it on.

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