Sale of Rose Ave properties to fund Cultural and Civic Space project approved

Council owned properties in Rose Avenue, Coffs Harbour have been approved for sale for $2.1 million by Coffs Harbour City councillors to help fund the Cultural and Civic Space project. Photo: Emma Darbin.

 

THE sale of publicly owned properties in Rose Avenue, Coffs Harbour to help fund the controversial $76.5 million Cultural and Civic Space project has been narrowly approved by Coffs Harbour City councillors, with Mayor Denise Knight using her casting vote to progress the sale.

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The sale has been included in the funding model of the Cultural and Civic Space project in Gordon St, Coffs Harbour and has been determined as surplus to Council’s needs.

The properties are located at 169-171 Rose Avenue, Coffs Harbour, on the corner of Marcia Street and Rose Avenue.

Council resolved at its meeting on 14 May and again on 13 August to sell the property.

The property has been held by Council since October 1992 when it was purchased, and it has since been operated as commercial offices and storage both for various tenants and Council operations.

Coffs Harbour Council, as part of the sale, will continue to occupy a small part of the property which is currently partly occupied by the Coffs Harbour Historical Society.

Council received an offer of $2.1 million for the purchase of the property, which was slightly above a recent independent valuation commissioned by Council.

Council staff recommended councillors to accept the offer in a Council report on the proposed sale discussed at Council’s recent ordinary meeting on Thursday, 26 November.

Cr George Cecato supported the sale of the buildings and described the money offered to purchase the property as “a good offer”.

“It was a Council resolution; it will be surplus to our needs once we build that beautiful new building, it’s a good offer,” Cr Cecato said.

“If we don’t sell it we have to incur extra borrowings and we don’t want to do that.

“It meets all the criteria to be sold, so I encourage you councillors to please support the recommendation.”

However, Cr Keith Rhoades said he couldn’t support the sale because the money from the sale was being used to fund the Cultural and Civic Space project.

“I would have been happy a few months ago to see all four buildings removed from sale,” Cr Rhoades said.

“The community are totally opposed to the project where these funds, if sold, are going to be diverted to, and while that remains in place I cannot support it.”

Cr Tegan Swan questioned discrepancies between two valuations Council had received for the property.

“There have been two valuations provided with a significant difference between them, and our current offer does not meet the original valuation, and given at this point in time Coffs Harbour is hot property for investment I don’t understand why one valuation would be less, and why would we accept an offer of less?” Cr Swan asked.

Cr John Arkan also opposed the sale of the Rose Avenue buildings and questioned the two differing property valuations.

“I don’t think we should be selling any of the buildings that were proposed to be sold,” Cr Arkan said.

“At this point in time, it is a time when Coffs Harbour is a sought after commodity.

“People are really wanting to come here, and if we have got a discrepancy in valuations, maybe it’s not a good time to be selling.”

Cr Arkan called on councillors to remember that the buildings “belong to the city”.

“We’ve got a duty of care as to how we deal with the sale of this,” Cr Arkan said.

“In the height of wisdom we should be thinking about, well maybe we don’t need to sell this at this particular point in time.

“We have a duty of care to the people of Coffs Harbour to make sure we make the right decisions.”

The vote by councillors on the issue was tied 4-4, with Mayor Denise Knight using her casting vote to proceed with the sale of the Rose Avenue buildings to fund the Cultural and Civic Space project.

Cr Michael Adendorff, Cr Sally Townley, Cr George Cecato and Cr Denise Knight voted for the sale of the buildings, and Cr Keith Rhoades, Cr Tegan Swan, Cr John Arkan and Cr Paul Amos voted against the sale.

It was resolved that Council approve the sale of 169-171 Rose Avenue, Coffs Harbour at the agreed price of $2,100,000 to the confidential party, note that each party pay their own conveyancing costs, and that Council execute all documents necessary to facilitate the sale.

 

By Emma DARBIN

One thought on “Sale of Rose Ave properties to fund Cultural and Civic Space project approved

  1. Andy Fraser has been rather quite on this matter considering he was vehemently against the construction of the new arts centre. I would like to know what the other valuation was for the Rose Avenue site and who the purchaser is. The secrecy around the matter makes one smell a rat.

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