Coffs Coast Business, Local

Chamber of Commerce Chairman calls petition promoters “bullies”

The followingstory is from the Coffs Coast Advocate, 29 August 2019, site and is behind an online paywall.

“COFFS Harbour business leader, and Chair of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of commerce  Martin Wells has slammed the “bullies” promoting the petition against the proposed Cultural and Civic Space.

By Janine Watson

He has issued them a strong warning.

“Come back to our business and intimidate our staff like that again and you will be prosecuted,” Mr Wells said.

Martin Wells warns: “Come back to our business and intimidate our staff like that again and you will be prosecuted.”
Martin Wells warns: “Come back to our business and intimidate our staff like that again and you will be prosecuted.” Picture: The Advocate

The group Citizens Voice is behind it, and spokesperson Ann Leonard says it includes a diverse range of concerned citizens with backgrounds in building and construction, law, youth advocacy, small business, big business, public and civil service, politics and education.

The aim of the new petition is to get the 10,000 signatures required to table it in NSW Parliament.

But Mr Wells, the owner/principal at McGrath Estate Agents, had some very strong words this morning for those distributing the petition to businesses including his.

“To the bullies walking into businesses (particularly our business) yesterday demanding and intimidating staff to sign a petition against the Cultural and Civic Space how dare you.

“Walking into restricted areas of our business without invitation to harass staff. We will be sure to keep the CCTV.”

He says the bullying tactics are not welcome but not surprising.

“Given the people behind it – shame on you and the people you represent.”

Mr Wells said their behaviour and disparaging words towards Council and the Mayor Denise Knight were a disgrace.

“The credibility of your petition just evaporated instantly.

“There are a lot of people stoking the fire who have a lot to answer for and will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons.”

Ms Leonard says the group has gathered approximately 3,500 signatures so far, from just three collection points, and there are approximately 52 other locations across the Local Government Area where copies have been placed.

The $76.5m project has divided Coffs Harbour City Councillors
The $76.5m project has divided Coffs Harbour City Councillors

Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh has received a number of letters about the matter and has forwarded them onto the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock.

A representative from Ms Hancock’s office said the Minister does not comment on the quantity or nature of correspondence received.

“Local councils are expected to determine spending priorities and major projects in close consultation with their communities.

“Ultimately, it is a matter for the local council to decide on the project’s future,” the representative said.

“At the end of the day, councils are accountable to their local residents, with voters returning to the polls in a little over a year. “

First published at the Coffs Coast Advocate, Thursday 29 August 2019. See:

Coffs Coast Outlook Editor’s note: We must say we here at Coffs Coast Outlook are stunned and more than just a tad surprised that 55 local business organisations have apparently been “bullied” into hosting this petition.

Or could it just be that the executive of the Chamber of Commerce actually doesn’t speak for and represent a lot of local businesses on this particular issue?

Look at the names of the businesses on the flyers below and ask yourself if you think they are the type to be easly ‘bullied” and that they are not capable of making up their own minds?


  1. Prarire Rose

    Martin, Marty, Maaaaate, where to begin?

    So you are going to ask visitors to your Real Estate shop your permission to enter then are you? I’m not too sure that will be exactly welcomed by your sales team I must say.

    Seriously mate get a grip. How woefully weak and pathetic. Welcome to the rough and tumble world of genuine democracy. And we need more of it.

    If you have visions of a political future take heed of Harry S Truman’s words about kitchens and heat before it’s too late.

    Jeez ‘cry me a river’ Princess!

  2. Ron Richardson

    Desperate much are you Mr Wells?

  3. Narelle Friar

    A man of integrity Mr Wells.
    Good to see there are still people like you left in our community.

  4. PRIORITIES. Coffs Harbour City Council needs to get its priorities right. The City already has a fully-resourced library which is open to the general public (at the University). The City already has a library and a gallery in the CD which are more than adequate given the small number of people in attendance. Redeveloping the existing Council chambers in accord with the NSW Government Architect’s original plans to consolidate the business of Council would be the intelligent and far less expensive course. Given the small population of only 76,00 people, the alternative could drag the City into bankruptcy. Fairy lights and an UN-COSTED project in a cramped and congested sans a performing arts space versus kerb and guttering and stage II University development and the potential of an elite performing arts faculty, if I had young children growing up in Coffs Harbour, I know what I would choose. Janne C Lindrum

    • Sonja Norton

      I don’t support this development of a council chambers and I don’t support Lindrums constant comments.
      Half the time her facts are wrong and she has to apologize when pulled up.
      She’s doing our cause more damage than good.
      CH library is a pile of rubbish. It’s too small and outdated. We need a new library!.
      SCU is not obligated to provide library services to the greater poplulation of Coffs Harbour LGA.Geographically SCU library is in the wrong spot and they have their own students to service first and foremost
      More time kids spend in libraries the less time they will spend finding trouble and turning in to drugs addicted as pointed out by the good dr.

    • Port Macquarie Citizen

      Can anyone comment about this story.
      Did it gain credibility or is it hot air?

      • Ron Richards

        Well given you are a “Port Macquarie citizen” apparently then you should be telling us shouldn’t you?

        • Port Macquarie Citizen

          I do know what the outcome was.
          Was just fishing to see if anyone around your fair town knew what the outcome was??

    • The accountant

      dr Jan .if you had a clue you would understand council has way to many assets to go bankrupt.

      Stop making rediculous statements.

      The only people I see struggling at the moment are the ones who fund land developments around Coffs Harbour. .

  5. If people are, as you allege, walking into your business and intimidating and harrassing your staff, then would you not under duty of care have an obligation to your employees to report this to the police? or even work cover as this is potentially an OH&S issue ? You have the CCTV of this alleged incident why would you not be using it appropriately rather than complaining to the newspaper?

    • A credible response. I agree with you. If there is CCTV, the matter needs to be referred to the police rather than an innocent citizen’s actions; a citizen trying to do their best in the absence of gain; being used for propaganda. Returning to the debate: Fairy lights and an UN-COSTED development in a cramped and congested space versus redevelopment of existing chambers for the consolidation of council business in accord with the plans laid down by the NSW Government architect, new kerb and guttering, filing of pot-holes and provision of funds towards STAGE TWO development at the Southern Cross University. Sans a PERFORMING ARTS & HOSPITALITY FACILITY, Government Grants would be best spent on the latter NOT the former as there is no one to be seen in the Coffs Harbour CBD after 4.00 pm and, in all this dialogue, I don’t hear the Business Chamber offering up any solutions to the MASSIVE DRUG PROBLEM in Coffs Harbour nor the HORRIFIC NAPLAN RESULTS. I reiterate, there is a fully-resourced library in the Southern Cross University which is open to the general public and very few attendees at the library in the Coffs Harbour CBD. I will prick my ears up when someone offers up a plan that creates (a) sustainable employment; and (b) generates incomes. From what I hear on the grapevine I am not the first of the disciples. In face, I may well be the last. If that is the case, Coffs is certainly where you wait for God and not for Godot!
      Janne C Lindrum

  6. Dick McDermott

    It’s a bit sad but quite common and not just here in Coffs Harbour that the Local Chamber of Commerce seems to have a born to rule attitude that is way over the top. As a lobby group and that’s all it is, the Chamber of Commerce is a hotbed of self interest which can’t abide criticism nor competition for the ear of local government. Just as developers should be banned from standing for council business owners should be permitted only in proportion to their number in relation to rate paying employees and the rest of the community.Running a business is no automatic qualification to stand on council and often quite the contrary.

    • Dick.
      You talk about self interest. Look at what the bulk of negative people who subscribe to this site have ?????self interest????
      Worried about their rates going up by a few percent. You’re a miserable bunch of the first order who want to deprive the youth of this town cultural facilities – you’re nothing but short sited and mean minded.
      You have had your lives. Most of you are on pensions cause you have done bugger all in your lives.
      Let the young people learn and better themselves.
      With a bit of luck with the benefit of libraries and cultural facilities the wonderful youth of this town will grow into successful people. Give them a chance and stop being so damn mean. .

  7. Dick McDermott

    Dear DJL spoken like a true member of the Chamber of Commerce whether you are or not. Deprive the youth of this towns cultural facilities? What emotive hogs wash. The facilities are there and if I see the day the youth of Coffs Harbour having to line up to get into the library or museum I’ll eat my hat. Every single school be it primary, secondary, public or semi government fee paying has their own library and on top of that the city has one. I wonder how all those mean spirited layabouts you speak of who work tirelessly to raise funds for these educational facilities feel about the way you feel towards them. No, you speak purely and simply as I suggested in my first sentenance.

    • James Rolles


      I agree with DjL ..
      For a town this size of Coffs Harbour our Library is undersized and outdated.
      No one can deny this and no one can deny that we need a modern library.
      Only the ignorant would agree with you.
      As for the chamber of commerce. I don’t know and can’t comment.
      Towns need to expand.
      If we don’t we will die.

  8. John Christie

    Who are you DJL, hiding out there? A tirade of insults aimed at those that care about our town, shame on you! How do you think that an expensive new council offices building will be of any interest to our youth? I believe that most of us “mean” people want a new library, art gallery and performing arts centre, we don’t want to spend tens of millions on unwanted and unneeded council offices.

    • Dear John
      Where did I say I supported the council offices being built.
      I said to build library and cultural facilities.
      Since when have council chambers been classed as a cultural facility?

      • DJL

        The petition specifically states;

        “We, the residents of the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area, desire and request a pause in the progress of the Council Chambers, Art Gallery, Library and Museum project in Gordon Street, Coffs Harbour, pending more and meaningful community consultation on that project. Furthermore, we desire and request more and meaningful community consultation for the assessment of the other options for a new performing arts facility, art gallery, library and museum for our local government area.” (Emphasis added)

        If one signs this petition one is not asking for there to be no new art gallery, library museum and performing arts facility. The latter of which currently does not exist in the Gordon Street proposal.

        In fact if one signs the petition one is asking to have different locations, costings, funding options and a lack of any new council chambers as part of these facilities. City Hill may be but one option.

        One who signs this petition is actually asking for even better facilities for current and future citizens, the latter of whom would include the young people you refer to. Facilities that are appropriate to a growing regional city no less.

        As an educator for the past 24 years of young people up to and including PhD level here in Coffs Harbour I am passionately committed to seeing things improve for them.

        I still do this work and I am not yet retired. I will retire as a self funded retiree. I will not be eligible for a pension, or a part pension.

        So you can imagine the umbridge I personally take at your unfounded, baseless and scurilous allegations that those who oppose what is being proposed in Gordon Street are “short sited and mean minded and who are on pensions cause you have done bugger all in your lives”.

        By the way no one ‘subscribes’ to this site. It is free.

        Grant – Coffs Coast Outlook Editor

  9. Wise Old Owl

    Was probably a bad call that petitioners chose to visit Mr Well’s agency given he’s previously clearly stated his position on the Gordon Street proposal.

    But without showing any evidence of “bullying and intimidating staff ” one could be forgiven for thinking Mr Wells may be using the petitioners’ visit opportunistically in an attempt to denigrate those in the community who have misgivings about the proposal. For balance we need to hear from the ‘marauding’ petitioners.

    And from my understanding of the law Mr Wells, only the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions can make a decision to prosecute.

  10. Dick McDermott

    Oh James, oh James, oh James, the library is undersized and outdated compared to which cities? You just can’t come out with statements like this unless tell us or show us how the library is comparatively undersized and outdated and how it compares with similar sized urban areas with similar rate bases. Most of this development is a new council chambers, it seems you don’t know this or are prepared to ignore it and that of course puts you clearly in the ignorants camp. There are far more pressing uses of our scarce rate payer dollars leaving aside the fact that we can’t even get all the information on total costs for the proposed project.

  11. Chris Bramley

    There are many passionate people signing and even sharing the petition with other residents and ratepayers. Many of those were never invited to participate in Council’s “consultation” process and never advised in 2016 that Council highjacket the performing arts space for new flash offices.
    Those offices contribute zero to the cultural improvement of our city, but do compromise the space available for a better library, museum and gallery.
    Sad that Mr Wells feels so aggrieved, but I cannot help feeling it more reflects his leadership role in the Chamber of Commerce and close association with Council. To be fair is Mr Wells’ “outrage” due to this association or is he really intimidated by a passionate resident? Surely, as a businessman he had the wherewithal to explained his position to the “wayward” resident. Or is it easier to perform for the media?
    Would it have anything to do with his role with Council’s Prosper Coffs Harbour?
    Oddly I recently raised questions about Prosper Coffs Harbour, on several forums noting that Mr Wells and several other prominent Council advocates were publicly declared executives. How do you get that gig?
    Cooincidentally, since that association aired on FB and CCO, a new Prosper Coffs Harbour website appears with no mention of office bearers. The website is now conveniently ambiguous.
    So much for Council transperency.
    Given that Prosper Coffs Harbour Ltd manages the Coffs Harbour Cultural Trust responsible for “sourcing funding for the promotion of literature, music, performing arts, visual arts, design,.. etc”, I wonder why it is not advocating for the original performing arts facility, and larger, future proof space for the gallery and museum???
    In the context of Council highjacking the civic building for it own interests, is it just me and thousands of residents who have already signed the petition, or does Prosper Coffs Harbour – Cultural Trust smack of hypocrisy, as does the Civic centre?

    • McGrath Real Estate listed on the Stock Exchange in Dec 2015 at $2.10 a share .Yesterday the share price was trading at $ 0.22 cents. John McGrath is rumoured to owe the bookmakers $16 million dollars in gambling debts. McGrath is not a reputable Brand Name in my Eyes. Martin Wells owns 3 franchisee’s of 3 McGrath Agencies. Martin Wells was unsuccessfull when running for Council at The 2016 council elections. Martin Wells is a Board Member of as is Mayor Denise Knight, Ann Gee from G2 Architects ( the company that got the job to design the Gordon St Building , surprise,surprise ) Dave Munro Owner of 5 McDonald’s Franchisee plus another 2 Board Members. GM Steve McGrath is the Chairman and Andrew Beswick from CHCC is Secretary of Google the board members and you will see their profiles. This company has been set up by CHCC. Ann Gee as a board member has certainly “Prospered” as her son Oliver and her Company have been paid big time for their chosen Architect design of the Council Building at Gordon St. Martin Wells the Chamber of Commerce President has run too all media outlets and using this story as a beat up .
      As an ex Ambulance man you have endured lots of violent situations as part of your job. If the situation was so bad why did you not call the Police immediately and use your CCTV evidence . Instead you saw an opportunity too run too the Media looking to be the Hero for your Minority group who want this too go ahead. Ambulance officers are one of the Highest Respected professions by the public.. Real Estate Agents are ranked one of the lowest respected professions by the Public. Networking ,Self Promotion is what this PR publicity stunt is all about Martin Wells .In using the Coffs Advocate (where you spend many thousands of advertising $$$$$ for your real estate business) too tell your story and threaten Prosecution.
      You have done the Citizens Voice a huge favour with your dramatic story and free publicity. It will only now increase the numbers for the signed petion circulating at 60 odd business houses in the LGA. You are offended with comments about Mayor Knight, GM Steve McGrath and CHCC who you are in bed with and call us ” bullies”. People in Power and Position must earn ” Respect” and there is not a lot of Respect out there for Mayor Denise Knight, GM Steve McGrath , CHCC and yourself Martin Wells. As for the name McGrath …the share price says it all. Not a lot of Confidence with the McGrath Name by the ratepayers/ residents in the LGA of the Coffs Coast.

      • John Christie

        Ron, as relatively newcomers to the Coffs Coast, we really appreciate your comment which provides us with so much insight to what’s going on in this town.
        Previously, I had never heard of but do you their name correct? Shouldn’t the name of this group be ‘prosper from’?

        • The Headline off this Article reads…. Chamber of Commerce Chairman ( Martin Wells) calls petition promoters ” bullies” . I find the word” bullies” is very apt too the comments on this Article. I have a question is 1. Port Macquarie Citizen 2. The Accountant 3. DJL 4. James Rolles 5. Maree Kaspowitz 6. J.Smith 7. Harry James. 8.Boo Hiss. 9. smsfinvest the same person with multiple personality disorders??? The amount of Ice being consumed in this town is affecting people’s mental health so it maybe a possibility..
          I apologise if I am wrong in assuming this to be the case.

    • I’d love to know if Lindrum has ever even gone to the library before to see how woefully inadequate it is? I agree that this project is not ideal but relying on a university that is hard to access already is completely inappropriate. Perhaps it’s because the people who use the library aren’t of the ~calibre~ someone as self important as Lindrum would associate with that she seeks not to care.
      The library is full of the MANY low SES people in Coffs Harbour who rely on it for internet access (to search for jobs, save money etc), young SAHM’s who use it as a FREE social outing for their young children, people living with a disability who enjoy perusing the books and facilities offered. If you’ve ever been in the library during business hours you would see how much it needs updating. You would also have probably seen the librarians being yelled at for one of many various reasons that people find. Poor librarians having to eject people for aggressive behaviour..
      I don’t think this project is ideal but I don’t think the loud minority of Lindrum and Co. are doing the cause any favours and I hope everyone sees that. She’s so blinded by rage and self importance that she seems to forget about everyone else.

  12. Dear People of Coffs Harbour, It distresses me greatly to see the division articulated above. Division, warmongering = regress. Unity and peacemaking = progress. So, let’s try to get a few facts into the open. First and foremost, to DJL, here you have one older Australian who objects strenuously to your assertion the “we”, being those who oppose the civic and cultural centre, are “mostly pensioners who have done bugger all, all your lives”. That is a terribly cruel and unfair statement. Please get to know us before you go making sweeping and extremely hurtful and inaccurate statements. Secondly, the “Gordon Street proposals ” are UN-COSTED. Coffs Harbour is a regional City of 76,000 people. If the cost of a civic centre in Parramatta; a city of 250,000 people with 4 million International tourists a year; is $50M, do you not ask yourself the question: “How can we afford an UN-COSTED $76.533M? Do you not pose the further questions: “Why won’t our Council disclose the valuation of the publicly-owned assets and the quantity surveyor’s costings and assumptions? Why is it okay to sell publicly-owned assets at up to 10% less than the stated value? Why didn’t the Executive provide comparatives? Why are Councillors asking for financial information AFTER they have voted on a critical motion and delegated authority to the Executive without understanding/comprehending the potential financial outcomes of their decision-making?” I have visited the current library a number of times. On each occasion, there have been around six or seven people on the premises; two or three of whom have been children playing with i-phones whilst waiting for parents sitting on computers. Leading demographer Bernard Salt says, Coffs Harbour needs Tourist Destinations (tourism is becoming more and more competitive). Professor Les Christidis of Southern Cross University says, the University needs $20M to invest in Stage II for the FUTURE. Well, FUTURE is right here on the doormat. Children growing up in Coffs Harbour need to have a future in Coffs Harbour. The only way for the current generation – teenagers, university students, parents, older-aged citizens – to provide that FUTURE is to ensure the decision-making now is in the very best interests of those to whom the legacy is bequeathed and division is laid to rest. Those young people will not be sitting in libraries reading hard-copy books nor will they be waiting for the City currently waiting for God to become the City waiting for Godot, they will be packing their bags and travelling outside of Coffs unless, dare I say, EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES are created. The Gordon Street proposals will NOT create employment nor generate revenue. The Gordon Street proposals will bankrupt the City and no economic study exists to say otherwise. The “unsubstantiated claims” that these proposals will bring thousands of tourists into Coffs Harbour are “UNSUBSTANTIATED” as are the PROJECT COSTS. Janne C Lindrum

    • I’ve got it now!!!!

      Lindrum fail of a plan for Port Macquarie.
      Lindrum fail of a plan for Coffs Harbour Airport.
      Bramley fail of a plan for motel site. Which if my memory serves me correct Bramley achieved some sort of approval but was
      Never built. Correct me if I’m wrong please Chris.

      Seems to me these who often congratulate each other on what comments they make have an axe to grind.. with who ??

      any council they dealt with and didn’t achieve the outcome they wanted.

      • Ron Richards

        Oh look another cheap shot merchant has crawled out from under a piece of geological rubble. Does Council pay you twenty cents if you get published or something “J. Smith”?

        I bet you were up all night thinking of a name like that one were you Einstein?

  13. I am not sure whether to don my flak jacket now!I concur with Janne .This is almost an episode from Utopia/ Sea Change with the councillors.The arrogance is beyond belief.An uncosted project which could easily send the ratepayers into huge debts. The priorities of this town are to address issues which affect our residents .Let start with 23% youth unemployment ,that is shameful .Most youths leave because of limited opportunities with employment .Geographically the location is superb ,but that is not enough we need sustainable jobs and proper planning .The vacancy rates for shops and offices is huge, retail is dying .Every week another business closes its doors and there is little comment ie WE Smith,Freedom,Deep Sea Club ,Coffs /Sydney yacht race the list just goes on .If we are not careful this place will turn into a necropolis .The council needs to focus on more pressing issues with assistance from state/federal govt on employment ,industry and good long term planning.The cultural centre is not the solution.Please council listen to the residents

  14. Dear J Smith, It is a tragedy that the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” remains alive and kicking in this nation of ours. So easy to get out the scythe and cut down people who try to make a difference. I’m not sure how you reach the conclusion that the PORT MACQUARIE & COFS HARBOUR AIRPORT plans were/are a “fail”??? If injecting your time, energy and money into lodging an unsolicited proposal (which remains “unanswered” despite the promise that we would be provided with the opportunity to present to Council”) and responding to a publicly advertised Expression of Interest in the normal course is a fail then I suppose we, being the team, have failed. If, however, you stop to carefully consider how our plans may have made a difference by creating employment and generating revenue within two communities where youth unemployment sits at a very high level then it is not “we” who have failed. Your logic alludes me. How is the failure on the part of the Port Macquarie-Hastings City Council to respond to an unsolicited proposal/entrepreneurial vision lodged in the normal course and in accord with the rules which had the support of former Mayor Peter Besseling and former President of the Chamber of Commerce Haydn Oriti and was developed in consultation with the Port Macquarie Council Planning Department and, finalised after numerous meetings with stakeholders (driving backwards and forwards to Port Macquarie), including flying to Sydney and travelling to Woolworths head office in Bella Vista in an attempt to solve the Woolworths stalemate a failure on my part? How is being roadblocked on bringing a 5-star hotel into an area that says it wants 3 x new 5-star hotel facilities (a 5-star operation with 120 million loyalty members), branch of the highly successful i-Accelerate and a Tourist vision into Coffs Harbour, my failure? Before you go hurling further stones, you should check the record. I was responsible for introducing international capital into this country during the recession we had to have. That initiative led to the construction of a building that still stands as a landmark, generated employment through the construction phase and subsequently served for the growth of Manly. I then saved a leading Sydney architect from going bankrupt through negotiations with National Mutual. After that I put a master plan together for a hotel at the gateway to the Southern Highlands. Acquisition of that site saved another architect from sliding under the hammer. During four years of hard slog to achieve my doctorate which pays tribute to my family who, over generations, have made an extraordinary contribution to this nation, I put a business together to introduce capital into a regional city that had sat stagnate since the 1960s. This gateway project served to stimulate yet another regional economy; providing jobs in the short and long term. I suggest you think very carefully before defaming my good name and record of achievement. Perhaps this nation has not made the progress that it should have made over the last half a century because we have been too busy knocking great ideas out of the park and bagging entrepreneurial thinking? Janne C Lindrum

    • Thank you taking time to reply Janne!

      You are amazing!

      Will you tell me exactly which landmark building in Manly you’re talking about and exactly which master plan did you put together in the southern highlands?

      Please don’t hold back.

  15. PS: Dear J Smith, This is the nation that treated Burley-Griffin and Utzon badly. This is the nation with no water pipeline, where shortly many places will run out of water. This is the nation that ignores the advice of many of its greatest scientific minds. This is the nation that has failed to create food bowls in City centres. This is the nation that lets homeless people sleep on concrete pavements preferring to invest in new Stadia. Little wonder that those who strive to make a difference get tired of bashing their heads on a brick wall. Janne C Lindrum

  16. Dick McDermott

    Maree Kaspowitz you must realise there is council elections after Christmas so all the cracks are gathered for the fray. We’ll surely only vote for those prepared to announce their support or non support for the project and would never consider voting for anyone who wasn’t prepared to do so publically or would we? The council elections sure throw up some doozie candidates as this current council can attest and so many vote for people they have no background on. You get what you allow.Watch for voting blocks they are the most sinister and usually throw together individuals with agendas divorced from the common good.

  17. Dear Maree, I think it is important to listen to what critics have to say and, when appropriate, to answer the critics. If you think what I have to say on the Gordon Street proposals, other important matters as they relate to the well-being of the Coffs Harbour community, and defence of my good name and reputation is “bla bla”, I suggest you don’t waste your time reading my views. Others, however, may find value in my thoughts.
    Janne C Lindrum

  18. Maree Kaspowitz

    Dearest Jan
    I will keep reading your masterpieces. They amaze me to no end, and … please keep penning these credible pages to entertain the six followers who congratulate you on these long winded masterpieces and the thirteen or fourteen who like your FB posts.
    You know the old saying “empty boats maken the most noise”.

    From one gal to another. Are you getting my point??

  19. J Smith, correct me if I’m wrong, is it Jim Smith who stood for Council last election, I think on a platform with Martin Wells?

    Irrespective, thanks for your comment it allows the opportunity to open the facts about the Councillors we choose.

    In 2010 we worked with Council staff on a hotel development which was presented to the then Mayor Rhoades, in the presence of the new General Manager Steve McGrath and Councillor Hines. Given the value of the project it was a proposal for the Joint Regional Planning Panel on which both gents sat. Mayor Rhoades offered his complete support. However the proposal was frustrated within Council resulting in meetings with the Director General, Department of Planning.

    Subsequently, the NSW Government introduced the standardisation of zoning across the state. However to ensure the protection of the CBD which the “Special Rates” buys, Coffs Harbour was the only Council in NSW to dramatically contradict the Government’s intent and severely restrict the B6 zone along the highway, effectively killing off any commercial development beyond 600sq.m. The consequence of this restrictive policy is demonstrated by the lack of new development along the Pacific Highway, making Coffs Harbour appear to be in a time warp to millions of travellers. You may now be able to appreciate why Council’s General Manager no longer ranks tourism as an industry for Coffs Harbour, instead citing retirement, nursing homes and retail.

    Our response was to prepare a new development that we expected to take to the Land and Environment Court. Based on that expectation, we engaged a highly professional team of consultants including planning, engineering, flood, bushfire risk, ecology, and architects.

    You may not be aware J.Smith, but Council’s Planning Department recommended approval of what was to be Coffs Harbour’s first 5 star, tourism accommodation venue with 100 seat restaurant, wine bar, serviced professional offices to support visiting court professionals, pool and gym. Possibly you could compare that with Port Macquarie.

    What surprised us was that then Mayor Knight voted in favour of the project.

    What didn’t surprise us was:
    1. That Cr B. Palmer was in the chamber and voted against the approval.
    Considering he had a significant conflict of interest as being in previous direct business competition with our business partner and having received considerable business introduction and income from our tourism brokerage business. We had also conflict with Cr Palmer’s life partner in the Tourism Association.

    2. Cr Innes was in the chamber and voted against the approval, despite having a long term personal friendship and mentor role with a family member and equity participant in the project.

    The most egregious act however, was that Mayor Knight was bullied by Crs Rhoades, Palmer and Innes to change her stance and vote in favour of their rescission motion, having been threatened that they would never vote for her beloved entertainment centre. Given the individuals involved, I have no doubt there will be denials, but there is a witness to the event who sat waiting outside the Mayors office on appointment, when the trio barged in.

    Council planning staff were pressured to amend their recommendation, but couldn’t as the development application was compliant. I commend all Council staff involved in the DA assessment as being professional, diligent and stringent.

    Even so, the Mayor flipped and two days later Council was served and the application proceeded to the Land and Environment Court.

    I trust by this stage you are recognising a pattern of behaviour within our Councillors and Council executive that is repeated to this day. Primarily, the singular favoritism shown to the CBD and bought by the CBD Special Rates. Noting of course, how supportive and magnanimous Council, the Mayor and General Manager were is assisting Gowings with their proposed CBD hotel development. The contradiction is blinding.

    But I have left the two gems to last.
    1. In the course of opposing the project, former Mayor and standing Cr Rhoades knowingly lied to the public with the assistance of an Advocate article. In that article Cr Rhoades perversely and knowing it to be false, resorted to attributing the sad death of an elderly lady in the 1996 flood to our property to justify his incorrect claims of flood risks, which the DA had completely mitigated.
    To this day, I find it abhorrent to stoop so low.

    2. Council produced a falsified flood level diagram to the Land and Environment Courts expert witnesses (on both sides). Just for a moment, think about the gravity of falsifying evidence. When this was exposed, the flood issue was agreed between the two experts to have been properly addressed in our considerable modelling, planning and engineering. The issue of flood impact never made it to the Court hearing. You may see similarity to the recent Lakes Estate case and Council’s $4.5mil loss. Alternatively, you could review Council’s audit investigation into vegetation GIS., which I understand was extending to areas such as flooding and koala mapping.

    We ensured we had the best possible legal firm, barrister and team of L&E Court accredited experts. The case was effectively concluded in one day. So in summary J.Smith, I don’t have an axe to grind against Council in respect of our hotel, we won! We have since assisted several other property owners to challenge Council with introductions to our team of experts.

    Further up until now, we have been gracious not to expose the misrepresentations, deception, lack of probity and proper representation and bias that our Council executive and some Councillors have, and unjustly continue to suffer on our community.

    Look along the highway, the Jetty strip, the barren $9Mil harbour front park (compared with Tamworth). Woolgoolga town centre, and our outer lying townships and I dare you to suggest all the LGA is represented equally!

    If your intent was to imply we failed to deliver on the project, have you asked the same question of Gowings with their hotel, or Cex with their serviced apartments that have been approved longer than our project? You could also ask Accor why it left Coffs Harbour?

    But the bigger issue that people like yourself and the CBD supporters don’t realise or more likely don’t care about is that the City is failing. It is no longer seen by the State Government as a significant regional centre, the banks and institutional funders don’t even have regional representative offices. We were once a major Australian tourism destination and now the General Manager does not acknowledge tourism at a local government conference (Yes Mr McGrath your interview is on the web).

    The residents deserve better, impartial and ethical representation from Councillors. The city is not your personal playground and its time to take your hand out of the wallets of others.

    From what I know of Jan Lindrum, she is passionate about where she lives and like myself shares a vision for better community facilities and opportunities, beyond those who look to trade their money for influence at the cost of the wider community.

    I look forward to the State Government’s plans for the harbour precinct and the next Council elections.

    Hope that clarifies my position and thanks again J.Smith for affording me the opportunity to clear any misconceptions and deal with the truth.

    • Thankyou C. Brambley for revealing the truth of the lies, corruption and culture of CHCC and how it operates. Bring in ICAC and the Administrators . They have gotten away with this mafia behaviour for far too long.

  20. Brad Roberts

    Maree Kaspowitz I can assure you Dr Janne C Lindrum has a large following in the LGA that value and appreciate Dr Lindrums contributions to Coffs Coast Outlook and the Gordon St debate. You are entitled to your opinions as Australia has Freedom of Speech. For many of us what Dr Janne C Lindrum writes and speaks makes perfect sense. That is why the Council Chamber erupted in the loudest of applause after Dr Janne Lindrum spoke at the July 25th Council Meeting. Cr Keith Rhoades spoke that in his 28 yrs of being in the Council Chamber he had never heard a speech like Dr Janne C Lindrum that was so well researched, articulated and so powerfull. If you would like too listen too Dr Janne C . Lindrum speech it can be heard on Coffs City Council Audio meetings July 25th seeing as you are so amazed with Dr Janne C Lindrum.

    • Maree Kaspowitz

      You and others are mesmerized by j lindrums ramblings. I’m not.

      I note J Smith asked jan earlier maybe yesterday to tell the reader exactly which projects she was involved with in Manly and Southeen highland she was involved with.

      I and I’m sure J smith plus others would like to know.

      As far as K Rhoades goes. Of course he said she spoke well.she supported his cause. I listened to the audio- yes – she did speak well. Doesn’t mean what she said had substance.!!!

      I note port Macquarie has little interest in her grand plans and Coffs Council was the same.

      • Maree Kaspowitz Coffs Harbour City Council are threatened and intimidated by Dr Janne C Lindrum (3 internal staff members have told me in confidence). If you read C.Bramleys testimonial with his dealings with CHCC you may get an idea of how CHCC works. Changing the subject I am a History buff and into Ancestor History. If you do not mind what Nationality is Kaspowitz and its country of Origin.??? It’s such a unique surname and I am mesmerised by its Ancestory.

  21. Oh ,what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive

  22. Dear Brad, Thank you most sincerely for your kind comments. Much appreciated. I care very much for this magnificent City and its beautiful people. Jan

    • You are welcome Dr Janne Lindrum. You cannot please everyone and there will always be haters/critics . I was taught at a very young age by a very wise old Man of this saying . “What people think of me is not my business. ” Men in Power & Position are often the ones most threatened and intimidated by women like you Dr Janne C Lindrum.

  23. Dear J Smith,

    Here is a list of FAMOUS FAILURES:

    Albert Einstein (teacher said he would never amount to much), Michael Jordan (cut from high school basketball team), Walt Disney (fired for lacking imagination and having no original ideas), Steve Jobbs (fired from his own company), Oprah Winfrey (demoted because she was not fit for television), The Beatles (have no future in show business). Please take the time to research these “FAILURES!!”

    Janne C Lindrum

  24. Maree Kaspowitz
    What the Hell “Doesn’t mean what she said had substance.!!!”
    If that’s all you can come up with , I suggest you give up on your remarks .

    • Maree Kaspowitz

      bill jones.

      What happened to freedom of speech?
      You and your contributors have two sets of rules. Anyone disagrees and doesn’t articulate as well as others they are to not to wrote.

      Please don’t bully me.

      You cheapen the only means we have of getting the good word out there.

      I will continue to write,comment and expose…..??????………stay tuned. ?????



  25. I’d love to know if Lindrum has ever even gone to the library before to see how woefully inadequate it is? I agree that this project is not ideal but relying on a university that is hard to access already is completely inappropriate. Perhaps it’s because the people who use the library aren’t of the ~calibre~ someone as self important as Lindrum would associate with that she seeks not to care.
    The library is full of the MANY low SES people in Coffs Harbour who rely on it for internet access (to search for jobs, save money etc), young SAHM’s who use it as a FREE social outing for their young children, people living with a disability who enjoy perusing the books and facilities offered. If you’ve ever been in the library during business hours you would see how much it needs updating. You would also have probably seen the librarians being yelled at for one of many various reasons that people find. Poor librarians having to eject people for aggressive behaviour..
    I don’t think this project is ideal but I don’t think the loud minority of Lindrum and Co. are doing the cause any favours and I hope everyone sees that. She’s so blinded by rage and self importance that she seems to forget about everyone else.

    • Go Boo Hiss.

      You got her in one !!!

      Get ready for her ten paragraph reply which is guaranteed to be off subject.

      I have been following this thread for a while now. You really understand what’s going on here.

  26. I care about the people of Coffs Habour and I am more than happy to have a constructive debate in a public forum but I do not propose to shadow box with anonymous persons. Janne C Lindrum

  27. I’m thankful that proponents of the new Council building are engaging. However it amuses me that so few have the gumption to step from behind fake names before stooping to personal attacks, weak innuendo and even the inability to at least show the courtesy of address someone with their proper name.

    “Boo Hiss” have you taken the time to realise that those arguing against the Council building in its present format support your complaint? We strongly support better, larger and modern library facilities, a contemporary and multi-use art gallery and a quality museum that appropriately exhibits all our city’s rich and varied history. We accept these have been disgracefully ignored for far too long.

    However, Council highjacking the building in 2016 for its own administration purposes, not only cancelled any opportunity for performing arts space, but also severely compromised available space for the other important community facilities.

    So you may now understand that we share your position, yet feel that your goals will be sold short and likely become redundant before the building is even built. What is the purpose of having second rate services/facilities replace existing archaic sites? There is nothing to be lost if you and others sharing the same views, open their minds to appreciate that community strength can and should demand the best we can achieve. You will get no second chance.

    Alternatively, possibly the antagonistic and anonymous personal attacks are the real objective. In which case by all means continue, we are accustom to that from Council supporters, those associated with the CBD and those that hide in the shadows. But that amateurish approach only resonates with likeminded folk.

    Rather, help to either justify or dispel that appropriate community consultation took place, explain why the Council offices replaced the performing arts space, how the project costs could be accurate based on preliminary plans, what the entire project costs (including eg, land, fitout, furnishings) would blow out to be, or how the entire community gets benefit from the current second rate proposal. I’m looking for the verifiable data, not the hollow promotional details published by Council.

    Thanks Chris

    • Your comment Chris is probably the best and most concise reasoning of why this ‘new council offices’ project should not proceed.
      My principle concern is just what is going on in CHCC to have progressed to this stage. I have absolutely no confidence or trust with the GM, the executive team, the mayor and 3 councillors. An administrator needs to be appointed asap and a full investigation commenced.
      Our lovely town must get rid of all those self serving individuals who show nothing more than contempt for residents and the proper process.
      Thank goodness that we have you and the many other contributors. John.

  28. I’m not a council support in this slightest. Probably the furthest from it, but I think you underestimate how much damage people like “Dr Janne C. Lindrum” do to grass roots campaigns like these. All of her life works proves that she is self absorbed and only out for herself or the legacy of her family. You need only look to her website to see that……. or the book she has written about how amazing her family is or her long rants about herself. She is the true personification of a “boomer”.
    Her name is synonymous with trouble and issues to anyone who worked with her before. She may seem articulate and well spoken but she lacks substance and critical thought.
    Fancy words without actually saying anything.

    And I notice that despite engaging in many a hapless argument, she does not reply to my very valid counter points about the library and her suggestions.
    I think I struck a chord.

    People stop arguing when they realise they are wrong and Lindrum has been stopped in her tracks.

    A very strong advocate against the current council proposal.

    • Boo Hiss Dr Jan Lindrum does not argue. Dr Lindrum debates. I read Janne comment that she does not shadow box with anonymous people but happy too debate in a public forum. Dr Janne Lindrum has not been stopped in her tracks . There is a difference between Argument and Debate.

    • Boo Hiss.

      You have said what everyone else is thinking.
      This woman has anointed herself as the spokesperson for the citizens of Coffs Harbour. She speaks for a handful at best.
      I’m glad you went through her Web site also, Its shallow at best. A bunch of tabs with little behind them!!!!

      We’re still waiting to hear which landmark buildings she was behind in Manly and Southern highlands. I know what happened in Port Macquarie… That sounded like a right waste of time.
      Coleen Carmody wrote a wonderful letter to port Macquarie news about Jan s proposal. The people of port Macquarie didn’t want it at any price from what I read on the port Macquarie news Facebook site.
      There also was a debacle over the naming of a bridge or walk down there???

      And the thing at the airport in Coffs never got wings. Surprise surprise!!! So Jan plays lets let’s get stuck into CHCC. Let’s make a name for myself.

      Jan maybe you ought to let us know exactly which landmark buildings you were behind so we can have a look at them. We’re waiting for your response!!!
      You know what??? I think it’s all BS and it’s all BS.


    • Well said Boo Hiss.

      I also am a strong advocate against the councils proposal.

      I’m also a strong advocate against people like one of the contributors to outlook going from town to town causing upset in the communities.

      The more these people or person are exposed the better.

      More reader need to look at their history and qualifications and see exactly what they are about And not take them on face value.

      • Chris Bramley

        J.Smith we are all welcome to our opinions. But what I don’t understand is that if you and “Boo Hiss”are so aggrieved with Council’s action, should it and its executive be the appropriate target?

        Should you not be exposing the fallacy of the “Special Rates”, the lies about Council being broke in justification of retrenching staff and raising rates 23% in the last 5 years or even the ludicrous statement that Council could cost the target project without final plans or engineering?

        If those issues are not your targets, are really not cloaking a mouthpiece for Council’s agenda? I hope I’m mistaken and if so, I welcome you to work with me and expose examples where Council has acted contrary to the interests of the community. Over to you.

        • Thanks Chris.
          I am generally not a supporter of the project. Library and art gallery is fine. The rest can wait. And wait and wait.

          As far as special rates go. From my recollection the only payers of special rates are the long suffering CBD property owners. If you ask me I reckon they got a raw deal too. Council will never have another special rate approved in our LGA.
          They will have general rate increases approved over the CPI by Ipart I’m sure. Most council will be asking for rate increases as CPI is running between 1.3 to 1.8% depending on which index council uses.

  29. Your comment Chris is probably the best and most concise reasoning of why this ‘new council offices’ project should not proceed.
    My principle concern is just what is going on in CHCC to have progressed to this stage. I have absolutely no confidence or trust with the GM, the executive team, the mayor and 3 councillors. An administrator needs to be appointed asap and a full investigation commenced.
    Our lovely town must get rid of all those self serving individuals who show nothing more than contempt for residents and the proper process.
    Thank goodness that we have you and the many other contributors. John.

    • Chris Bramley

      Thanks John. I sense that the community is finally raising from the slumber/ambivalence that Council has relied on. We certainly cannot rely on local media, paid by advertising income from Council, to be an independent voice.

      Coffs Coast Outlook deserves our financial support to elevate it to the proper independent information source and voice for the community.

  30. Just thought I’d let you all know that the number of comments under this story have smashed the previous record here at Coffs Coast Outlook, and its predecessor Coffs Outlook, by several ‘country miles’.

    Grant – Editor, Coffs Coast outlook.

    • Congratulations Ed.

      Glad to see Outlook is gaining popularity.

    • I’m totally over the advocate making us pay to read their news.

      Encourage your friends and colleagues to get on outlook. Keep the momentum going.

      Maybe Outlook will display advertising and build a viable business.

      The editor spends enough time administrating outlook. He deserves something in return.

      Council could publish their DA on outlook. This would be a good start.

  31. Dear Friends, I would not be so bold as to speak for any other human being. Human beings need to make their own decisions. I do not represent the voice of the people of Coffs Harbour but I’m sure Gurmesh Singh and Pat Conaghan deem it to be an “enormous privilege” to do so. For those of you who, for whatever reason, wish to hurl stones at me, I will shortly post my record to web site. Whether you continue to hurl stones, that is a matter for you but please do not let me catch you out as I will ask you to answer to the nation’s defamation laws. Whether you like it or not, I have been at the forefront of projects that have “created employment and generated revenue” and those projects would not have come to fruition if there had not been someone to kick the ball off the oval. In relation to the work on my family history; my book/s; I take particular exception. Your attacks are unwarranted and unjustified; they are attacks on my person as well as attacks on a body of well-supervised and well-researched work. What my family achieved over generations is remarkable and national recognition is long overdue. Let the record speak for itself. If I have, in any way acted to glorify the record of my ancestors, I make absolutely no apology whatsoever. Insofar as myself, let history & philosophy be the judge and let’s all hope that history & philosophy manage to survive and climb back upon the pedestals they so richly deserve to occupy so that the language of our nation becomes kinder and more dignified. Please note, further input will only be via a public debate. I flatly refuse to engage in any further shadow boxing events with those who choose not to name themselves.
    Janne C Lindrum

  32. John Christie

    I thought that this article was all about Wells’ threat to prosecute petition promoters. However, it is clearly evident that a bunch of nameless commentators are using it to personally attack Janne. Some might consider you personal attackers as being cowards and having no credibility.

  33. “Dr Janne C. Lindrum”

    The language of our nation? Well we currently live on Gumbaynggirr country, so do you mean that language? There are over 200 nation groups of Indigenous people in Australia with different languages so if you are talking about Australia as a continent, there is no language of our nation.

    You’ve mentioned these projects on several occasions but are yet to produce even a NAME of a project that you have worked on. People have asked in order to research and discover your past to see who is the person representing “the people”.. who is the self-appointed crusader for the people of Coffs Harbour, but you’ve failed to do so.

    All we have to go off is a vapid and vague website that showcases nothing more than a book and a desperation for recognition that no one is willing to give. Perhaps no one cares about snooker? Or perhaps the route you’ve taken to gain recognition for your family has rubbed people the wrong way? I’ve seen you before mention “tall poppy syndrome” in reference to yourself but it seems as though you are the child of a tall poppy, desperate to get something for your existence without doing much to gain it.

    As I’ve said before, I am opposed to the current project. There are other ways to push back against the council than photo of flowers and oneself in various groups or repetitive regurgitation of your families story, as though that gives you authority on anything!

    My issue is YOUR convoluted message – you seem to be anti any development, as rather than offer anmendments to the current proposal you offer unrealistic alternatives (such as the SCU library). Your message is so muddled and appears as though it only seeks to further your public profile for personal gain.

    So why do I post this anonymously? Because I don’t agree with that. I could easily post my name against this and gain noteriety, respect and boost my public profile but instead I choose a period, theatre-reference moniker to show that I know.

    There will never be a public debate – no one would care to host an event just to listen to you spew what you write online, however, this “shadow boxing” allows open, transparent and ACCESSIBLE communication… but I guess you aren’t bothered by how important accessibility is?

    We should stand opposed to the councils project, but not with Lindrum at the helm.

    A concerned, rate-paying, LOCAL.

  34. Dear Coffs Coast Outlook Editor
    Please consider my request to make it a policy of this outstanding alternative to the Coffs Coast Advocate that unless a commentators genuine name is attached to their post, it is not posted in your pages.
    There seems to be a sharp rise in the nasty hatred and malicious posts coming from nameless keyboard warriors and trolls.
    If anyone is prepared to stand and use their own name to post their viewpoints then so much to the power of free speech.
    But I have nothing but contempt for the gutless ones who have discovered Coffs Coast Outlook as a soap box to sling trash at others.
    These people know who I mean and I hope that in your role as editor/owner you can silence these horrible nasty people who are contributing nothing but their bile to a vigorous, but respectful and harmonious debate, unless they too can have the courage to post in their own name and not hide behind fake or silly names covering up their insecurities.

    • Chris Bramley

      I agree Rob. Outlook has always been a superb platform for interested parties to have a sensible and vigorous debate. One of the few environments where that opportunity is available to the entire community and thankfully aired across the web for access.

      Having said that, historically personal attacks on me generally allowed the opportunity to expose facts or circumstances the commentator was usually trying deflect from interest. This in effect is a primary school mentality.

      The very fact a commentator hides behind a pseudonym to hide identification, but then berates or seeks to “expose”another known contributor/s in an effort to force silence, makes them a hypocrite and to me, evidences an ulterior motive.

      Disagreement and robust debate is fine, however personal denigration (and I can dish out caustic comments with the best) has no place. Hide behind a veil if you wish, but don’t use it as a shield to attack others.

  35. Freedom of speech but only on your terms aye?

    Typical. Boomers.

    Also FYI, Australia has no “right” to free speech anyway! Check the constitution buddies

    It’s a shame that this page gets overtaken by these types of people like Jan and Rob Trezise. Could be such an opportunity to have a real alternate news source to the advocate but do you have real journalists? How many? Are you all members of the MEAA?


    • Chris Bramley

      LOL, your comment is precisely why I posted mine. No one is seeking to strangle free speech as you put it. Those genuinely interested in free speech or expressing an opinion don’t need to hide behind fake names that undermine credibility. However, this is not a platform for abuse but a forum for community exchange.

      If that doesn’t accord with your views you are always welcome to start another.

  36. If being a member of the MEAA was the measure of a journalist in this country LOL about 90% of Rupert’s mob would fail right there and then. Not that I’m a fan of theirs or anything.

    Google the term ‘citizen journalism’ though and see what you come up with.

  37. Lindsay Townsend

    One thing cant be argued about …… the majority of Coffs residents are against the plan (not libraries , art galleries etc)
    Its just another case of the politicians not listening.

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