By the Editor.
On Saturday July 14 the Coffs Coast Advocate ran a front page story headlined ‘Their Stand’ in the hard copy editions of the paper.
The story reports on two kiosks in the Coffs Harbour City Square, MamaGOTO and Caffeine Central, who have launched a petition in an effort to ensure they remain part of any future plan to revitalise the space. They did this in response to a plan developed by the Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) that was presented to business owners and which was opened for feedback on the council’s website until Friday August 3.
The plan shows trees and seating where the two kiosks currently stand.
The CHCC’s Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Mick Raby (pictured below) is quoted as saying that the plan was the result of “extensive community consultation”. Mr Raby stated that “six hundred people were interviewed over a couple of months; asked what they like and don’t like and how it could be improved. It’s our genuine attempt at community consultation.”
In response to the City Square Plan the CoffsCoast Outlook understands that in the past two weeks alone that MamaGOTO has collected approximately 3,000 signatures supporting the kiosk’s retention in City Square.
Interestingly the Advocate’s story also came out at about the same time CoffsCoast Outlook was being informed that there was more to the plan’s presentation than ‘met the eye’.
Readers of Outlook who retain keen memories might not be too surprised by this latest revelation.
On 26 April we published this story which outlined that there were more than a few CBD special rate variation ratepayers (SRV’s) who were very disgruntled with the way the CHCC thought that “reneging on agreements with ratepayers is OK and that it will have no consequences.”
So what is it that we understand may give more background to the recent City Square plan that is mentioned above?
Well that question is best answered in turn by a number of other questions. Namely:
- Did the CHCC do as agreed by resolution that they would consult with the CBD Special Ratepayers before changing the Terms of Reference?
- Did the CBD Masterplan Committee have a quorum at the meeting where ‘an agreement’ was reached on the new City Square Concept Plan?
- Has any money been spent from the Special Rate Variation account without it first being approved in CBD Committee Meeting Minutes (12 c in the Terms of Reference)?
- Is there a resolution of council approving the new City Square Concept Plan?
- Were ‘incentives offered’ to some of the kiosk owners by someone who (it could be argued) may have a ‘conflict of interest’ in relation to City Square?
Leaving aside the very coherent arguments by many of the commentators on The Advocate’s story linked above consider also the following. If the above questions are answered as ‘No, No, Yes, No and Yes’ in order, as is suspected, then it’s a matter of;
“Ground Control to Major Tom, we have a problem! Who controls council, staff or the elected representatives?”