OPINION: Some questions about the Cultural and Civic Space MidCoast LGA (overall news) by News Of The Area - Modern Media - May 20, 2021 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. Regards, Freda PATTERSON, Boambee East.