Coffs Harbor City Council has rejected the New South Wales Government’s current draft master plan for the city’s Pier area.
- The Council rejected the master plan for the pier precinct in its current form
- Mayor Paul Amos led the motion to oppose the plan, arguing it does not reflect the wishes of the community
- Coffs Harbor MP Gurmesh Singh believes the council acted too quickly, with a community feedback inquiry still open until next week
A motion put forward by Mayor Paul Amos passed at this week’s council meeting, rising six to three.
The draft master plan for the revitalization of the pier was unveiled last month, with community comment submissions due to close next Monday.
Councilor Amos said he believed the plan ignored a majority of residents who had already expressed a desire to keep as many public spaces open as possible.
“As we adopt a policy like our condensed city model, where we have people living on top of each other, we need those escape zones,” he said.
“We need to protect our important public recreation areas for the future.”
At the meeting, councilors presented a list of reasons for their opposition to the current plans, including the lack of parking and the height of the proposed buildings.
Coffs Harbor State Member Gurmesh Singh criticized the council’s decision as the state government was still seeking comment via an inquiry.
“I thought the council might have skipped a bit the last time a poll was done. [was in] 2018,” he said.
“Just under 1,000 respondents and about two-thirds were satisfied with some level of low-to-mid-rise development.”
The latest survey had 3,000 respondents and 14,000 page views, according to Singh.
He said that given the level of commitment, the council should have waited.
But Mr Amos disagreed, saying the council needed to have a position on the current plans before the bids close.
“The way that the [council] recommendation was made, that is not the direction I believe the community of Coffs Harbor wants to go,” he said.
“We had to make that call last night, and we have concerns about this first round of consultations actually reflecting where we’re headed.”
“Don’t listen” to the staff
Mr Singh said councilors voted against a staff recommendation, which was generally in favor of the state government’s plan.
“They don’t listen to their professional staff either,” he said.
“The staff recommendation was also not entirely supportive of the proposal, it gave some pretty constructive feedback.”
Resident Jill Bundagen messaged ABC’s Mid North Coast Morning to say the pier survey was a ‘misleading document’.
Mr. Amos said he was unable to comment on the government’s investigation, but said he had heard concerns of this nature.
The mayor said he was ready to come back to the table with the state government to settle differences.
“Life is about compromise, there would be ground to give I imagine as we progress,” he said.
“The starting point must be in a reasonable position on behalf of our community.”