Local, Opinion/Comment

Citizens Voice calls Coffs residents to sign NSW Government e-petition to pause CCS

If the world did not have Covid, Coffs Harbour would now have a new Council in place and the Council’s plan to build the $76.52m Cultural and Civic Centre may be quite a different matter.

By Citizens Voice

With council elections delayed until September 2021 the Citizens Voice Coffs Coast action group is still working on behalf of the community to have their voices heard. An e-petition has been set-up on the NSW Government website asking again for Coffs Habour City Council to pause the progress of the project.

Would the same Councillors have been returned if the election had been held on 12 September this year as originally planned?

Yes, Citizens Voice has been down this road before having lodged a petition with 15,000 signatures but was not successful in pausing the development.

But Citizens Voice believes that community feeling is such that we must continue to put pressure on the Councillors in an effort to change their view and at the same time show our disapproval to State Government authorities.

At the recent Council Meeting of August 13 Clr. Paul Amos stated that Council is currently, and has been for many months, spending $700,000 per month in consultant’s fees pertaining to this proposed Cultural & Civic Centre development but, as yet, they have not received DA approval from the NSW Department of Planning.

Clr Amos has highlighted $700,000 per month has been getting spent for many months on CCS consultants fees yet no DA has yet been approved.

At the same meeting Clr. Keith Rhoades urged Council to come clean with the community and show all the additional costs to be incurred with the project which will bring the final cost to around somewhere between $120 – $140m.

Some of these additional costs were: upgrading of Riding Lane & Gordon Street, interest on the loan, storage of excess museum and art gallery items, consultant’s fees, rent of workspace once Council properties are sold.

Citizens Voice Coffs Coast urges concerned residents to add your name to the e-petition by going to – NSW e petitions and clicking on ‘Put a pause on the Cultural and Civic Centre, Coffs Harbour’.

Please go to:


Thank you for your support,


  1. Mayor Knight will go down in Coffs Harbour’s History as the principle of the greatest loss of ratepayers money on a”BAD” decision , when the vote was 4 all, to use her casting vote again and again to put us the ratepayers holding the “can” for this over the top totally unnecessary ego driven Building , She will make the loss of $8.8 million hit by collateralize debt obligations (CD Os) look small time in 15 to 20 years down the track.

    CHCC lost $8.8 million over five years in a ‘high-risk’ investment since the start of the Global Financial Crisis in 2007.

  2. 40cmPedestalFan

    Not being ideal when run by an individual, would Citizens Voice wish to run a Gofundme or similar to crowd fund the following:

    * FOI requests, or a lawyer, to investigate the nexus between Council and Hawkridge. What brief was Hawkridge given on the community’s behalf? Is there a record of communication between Council and Hawkridge? How was Hawkridge engaged? What conversations took place? WIth whom, by whom. Was Hawkridge instructed or led to return a recommendation for Gordon St over City Hill? Did the GM’s and or Mayor’s input and bias have a role or carry any weight in that recommendation?

    * Secure, if possible, a full audit to deterimin the exact position of Council’s finances.

    * FOI or a lawyer to publicly reveal what the continuing consultant’s fees are for, exactly.

    * Engage a lawyer to prise into the deal, somehow, on the table between Council and the entity regarding the airport and attendant property lease. At least see if an inroad can be made. Perhaps citing the highly unusual timing as being of severe concern and indication of further severe concern.

    * Pull whatever they can from the above, and including more suggestions, to mount a case that Council is acting without appropriate considerations in the current and forthcoming economic climate, if not recklessness. This crowdfunded “report” can then be made public, if no further action can be taken, such as referral to ICAC and the Minister, and what, the Auditor General.

    I commend what Citizens Voice is doing. I don’t have much faith in the governmental corrective bodies and by harnessing public support Citizens Voice is being more persuasive than it might believe. A crowdfunded investigation of Council for the above (and I’ve probably forgotten other elements) at least provides another platform for the public to set their minds upon.

    What do we have against us as we seek caution and common sense? We have a handful of people – those Councillors, the GM and perhaps a couple of others in that building. Those people have kept on their hellbent path because they feel they can. Public weight against them is the best weight than can stop them.

    I lament terribly the lack of spine and talent and gumption by one of the more sensible Councillors to not run a public case – they’re so well positioned to be able to do so and stop this Council’s manifest mindlessness.

    But in the absence of that, the more that’s made public the better – and please remember this:

    We only need ONE of those four mulish councillors to come to their senses. Just one. But it will not come easily. Pride and alliances and a lot of collateral crap is at stake for that one person, individually. The amazing thing about public weight, though, is that if that one councillor woke up and aligned with the sensible four that heavy weight of public feeling flows toward that one individual in oceans of goodwill. It is possible to get that one to wake up, but we need every public tool we have.

  3. l definitely want to see the CCS project stopped in its entirety. l am less certain about another petition asking for the same thing that was unsuccessful 12 months ago?
    l hope to be proven incorrect, but l feel this initiative is misguided; question is why?

  4. We are now in recession possibly a depression! Maybe you could concentrate on real needs and services not get us into huge debt for something the MAJORITY dont want 😡

  5. This Coffs Harbour council should most definitely be put into the hands of the administrators until COVID is over and a new fresh council be elected

  6. Judy White-Singh

    This council should get their heads out of the sand and start looking around at what is not being done. The roads are disgusting and they want to spend ‘millions’ on one building. This is atrocious when so many people are homeless or trying to find suitable accommodation. A new council with completely new members is needed!

  7. Merrin Van Dartel

    Money wasted on ‘passive’ type building ie no money will be generated in community -priorities should be for long term jobs, support for local business and low cost housing. Debts are compounding even on preliminaries without the building even being started- astounding that a democratic vote hasn’t even been offered when the costs are so high and will exceed $100 mill

  8. Con Van Dartel

    Not value for the excessive cost. Google up Balmain Leagues Club redevelopement. For $135million they will get 167 apartments, for sale, rent or community use.They will get work units,community space and a commercial town square and to top it off art gallery and community studios.

    We will get what we already have.

    And we trust this mob with our hard earned i.e rates. Go figure!

  9. Vikki Haines

    My take on a good percentage of local community feeling is that this is the wrong mix of building occupants (eg council chambers), in wrong location (cramped , busy backstreet), with the wrong design .
    The idea & massive support for a true cultural & arts performing space is waiting to be tapped.
    Let’s not waste anymore time & money on such a divisive project.
    Time to realise both locals & visitors alike want value for money.
    Let’s see OUR RATES SPENT BY OUR COUNCIL investing in a holistic design for THE HEART for Coffs Harbour….. Not just central to business district.
    This space should create HARMONY in an environmentally sustainable showpiece, enjoyed within more natural surroundings that attracts & delivers artistic, musical & creative energy, which Coffs Harbour has in abundance !

  10. Lillian Mackenzie

    I strongly oppose the going ahead of the Cultural Centre for the simple reason council is controlled by one persons vote these days & is the opinion of nearly everyone you talk to. I agree it’s a huge waste of money for a regional area.

  11. Barry Mackenzie

    This decision for a Cultural centre is way out of hand . What a waste of money for the ratepayers. Pity we couldn’t get to vote for a new council.

  12. Please STOP this hugh expense which will put ever growing debt on the shoulders of our our grand children and their children in the years to come.

  13. Janet Sadler

    This is a terrible waste of money for the ratepayers. Has common sense flown out the window?

  14. If council had to spend their own money on this project, they would be SHY at doing so. Just because we would like to change certain aspects of our 30plus year home, we have to make do with what we chose. There is nothing wrong with the council offices, nor the library, nor the museum, nor the Jetty Memorial Theatre. As an entertainer of more than 80 years, if you are good enough at what you do, eg. as a performer, you can perform anywhere, wearing anything. You don’t need make up, nor footlights, nor special clothes to make you a better performer. Get real Denise Knight.

  15. Elections should be held immediately to get rid of these fools in council, Coffs District has clean bill of Health there is no reason why election cannot be held, we are 1 councillor short already and we have another that has been charged and convicted for criminal* activity,this is totaly unacceptable,the Mayor should stop using Covid as an excuse.The council should be investigated for lack of correct and honest information concerning this waste of our money to satisfy a small group of ratepayers and an Ego driven mayor with 6% approval.

    Editors note: * – I’m not sure this is 100% right, I understand there is an adverse finding in a civil matter and also on a traffic matter that is not deemed to be within the criminal code.

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