Coffs Harbour Arts Council is making the following submission to the Coffs Harbour Regional Cities Strategic Plan 2036.
“The lack of inclusion of the Arts and Culture in this plan is very disturbing. Coffs Harbour Arts Council encourages all associated with these vital sectors of our community to make a submission regardless of how brief it might be.
The following is our offering. We are a diverse group of arts and cultural practitioners’ and individuals from the art cultural and allied industries who are deeply concerned about the lack of inclusion and prioritisation of art and culture as key drivers in the growth and development of our region.
We make this submission to affirm to the NSW State government the fundamental role art and culture play not only to the lives of individuals in our community but also to the underpinning of economic success as a critical driver of tourism and call for cultural development to be a key element of the Coffs Harbour Regional City Action Plan.
We also wish to emphasise that a broad and wide ranging investment in art and culture will have a major impact in the decision making of younger people and families when choosing a location for their lifestyle change from our cities following on from the changes to how we live work and play post pandemic.
The Coffs Coast has benefited hugely from promotion and investment in sporting infrastructure over the last 20 years with investment in the Cex Stadium and a plethora of sports facilities across the LGA along with the creation of events which attract visitors from all over the country. This has played into the communities’ sense of health and wellbeing.
Through development and participation in the variety of events from team sport to triathlon ocean swimming running and cycling these events have been cemented into the psyche of the community and built on its active participation in both indoor and outdoor activities. It has ensured a regular influx of visitors as both competitors and spectators which is a major contributor to tourism in our economy.
This same result can be achieved by the promotion and investment into arts and cultural infrastructure and events. A brief push in the early 2000’s saw visitors flock to the Coffs Coast to attend performances of Cats and Grease held in temporary structures at the Jetty Foreshore and of course recently we were fortunate to see Elton John bring unprecedented crowds to the outdoor concert at the Stadium with 28,000 people in attendance at concerts over a period of days.
The Coffs Coast community has embraced these events wholeheartedly and is thirsty for more. Along with many other communities throughout the region we travel widely to attend events and cultural activities drawing much needed economic activity out of the area. Investment and development of our cultural landscape would contribute a much needed stimulus for and position us as a destination for sport cultural and recreational tourism.
This would not only enliven our community contributing to the health and wellbeing of residents it would make the region a far more desirable place for young families and retirees alike to call home.
The broadening of our investment in cultural tourism would be an absolute gamechanger for the Coffs Coast.Enlivening the community and bringing visitors from far and near. Post pandemic and changing behaviours see us ideally positioned to grow as a regional hub for major events building an income stream into our economy which is untapped.
With the difficulties surrounding transport and access to major events in places like Sydney and Brisbane we are ideally placed to become a Cultural Hub for a wide variety of events. Essentially these visitations require a backup of tourism attractions to enable us to hold visitors for those extra days and take advantage of the effort they make to actually come here. Investment in cultural tourism whether it be performance art, Indigenous culture, maritime and colonial history or visual art would certainly fill this void.
We are blessed with an idyllic climate, stunning coastline and beautiful hinterland but in this we are competing with communities right across the country who can lay claim to these same gifts.
To stand out from the crowd we need in to take advantage of these natural assets and build on them. By weaving our cultural infrastructure into the fabric of our community and taking advantage of the natural attraction of our environment we can tell the stories of our Indigenous, maritime, colonial and modern life while preserving and celebrating our iconic locations for future generations.
This environment underpins our culture and our community. As a young city laying its foundations’ we are in a position to take from the successes of other great cities who have developed cultural infrastructure in locations that enhance the cultural experience. Sydney is a classic example with its cultural centres positioned adjacent to the harbour gardens and parklands that draw so many visitors and residents. Other cities have taken back land allocated for industrial or commercial use and invigorated their communities by establishing cultural hubs attracting many visitors and enriching the communities’ identity. Brisbane’s South Bank, Newcastle and Hobart are classic examples of this.
Coffs Harbour would do exceedingly well by building on its natural assets and engaging through those assets which speak to the heart of our community and the desires of our visitors.We call on the NSW Government to address this major oversight in the Coffs Harbour Regional Cities Strategic Plan and ensure a comprehensive plan to develop and invest in broad based cultural infrastructure and events is included as a critical driver of economic growth and wellbeing for the region.”
For more information on the strategic plan and how to make a submission by 5.00 p.m. Friday 3 July click on the following Facebook link.