Local, Politics

Council to be asked to consider tenders for new Council Chambers/Cultural Center this Thursday

This Thursday 13 February is the date of the first scheduled Coffs Harbour City Council meeting for 2020, a Council election year.

On the agenda is a motion to consider a number of confidential tenders for the controversial proposed new Council Chambers and Cultural Center (CCCC) in Gordon Street.

The proposed new CCCC in Gordon Street has proven to be controversial with well attended special public meetings between Councillors and ratepayers being held last year. Photo; Coffs Coast Advocate.

The agenda sets out the motion as follows;

Authoriser:                  General Manager

MyCoffs:                      B.2 A community achieving its potential

Attachments:              ATT1  GM20/02  CONFIDENTIAL Contract No. SGC-1192-TI – Tender Assessment

Confidential in accordance with Section 10A(2)(d)(i),(d)(ii) of the Local Government Act as it contains commercial information of a confidential nature that would, if disclosed prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it, and information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a competitor of the council.

ATT2  GM20/02  CONFIDENTIAL Contract No. SGC-1192-TI – Probity Report

Executive Summary

Council utilised the NSW Government’s Procurepoint scheme for Consultants in Construction (Scheme 1191) to Request a Tender for SGC-1192-TI Project Management Services for the design finalisation, procurement and construction of the Cultural and Civic Space Project.  Assessment criteria and tender acceptance recommendation details are contained in the Confidential Attachment (ATT1) to this report.  The associated report of the project’s independent Probity Advisor is also a Confidential Attachment (ATT2) to this report.

Recommendation: That Council considers the tenders received for Contract SGC-1192-TI Project Management Services for the design finalisation, procurement and construction of the Cultural and Civic Space Project, and adopts the recommendation in the Confidential Attachment.


Description of Item:

The works associated with this contract are part of Council’s Cultural & Civic Space Project.

The project management services include, but are not limited to, management of:

–     Completion of the project’s design

–     Construction of the Cultural and Civic Space

–     Options to address pre-construction work including demolition of existing buildings on the subject site and procurement of a building contractor if the Early Contractor Involvement is unsuccessful

Invitations for Tender were called for a Lump Sum contract via Procurepoint Scheme 1191. Tenders closed at 10am on Wednesday 18 December 2019 with a 90-day valid period ending 17 March 2020.

Submissions were received from four organisations, which were:

1.    APP Corporation Pty Ltd

2.    Coffey Services Australia Pty Ltd

3.    MBB Group Pty Ltd

4.    Turner & Townsend Thinc Pty Ltd

The tenders have been evaluated on the following criteria:

–     Tender price

–     Relevant Company experience, capability and references

–     Team experience, capability, capacity, organisation structure and roles

–     Project management approach, methodology and quality

–     Project appreciation and value add

In accordance with the adopted Delivery Program this project is to be completed and capitalised before the end of the 2023/2024 financial year.

All companies provided compliant tender submissions.


1.    That the Cultural and Civic Space Project can’t be successfully progressed and completed without the services of a professional construction project management provider.

2.    That this is one of five major contracts required to progress and complete the project.  The contract for construction is anticipated to be considered by Council later in 2020, however this contract and the other three are anticipated for consideration early in 2020.  The other three contracts are:

a.    Cost Management services

b.    Head Design Consultant services (i.e. architect and design team sub-contractors)

c.    Early Contractor Involvement (i.e. a builder to participate in Design Development from 30% to 80% documentation and, potentially, to undertake construction)


1.    Adopt the recommendation. This would allow the project to progress in accordance with Council’s resolutions.

2.    Reject the recommendation and re-direct the Cultural and Civic Space Project.”

Tender for Demolition of existing properties on 23-31 Gordon Street

In addition Councillors will be asked to vote on a tender for the demolition of the existing properties where the CCCC is scheduled to be constructed.

The motion in relation to this is reprinted below (our emphasis added in bold italics);

Authoriser:                  Director Sustainable Communities

MyCoffs:                      C.1 Liveable neighbourhoods with a defined identity

Attachments:              ATT1  SC20/01   Development Application No. 0199/20 – 4.15 Evaluation Report

ATT2  SC20/01   Development Application No. 0199/20 – Plan

ATT3  SC20/01   Development Application No. 0199/20 – Draft Conditions

ATT4  SC20/01   CONFIDENTIAL Development Application No. 0199/20 – Submissions

Confidential in accordance with Section 10A(2)(e) of the Local Government Act as it contains information that would, if disclosed, prejudice the maintenance of law.

ATT5  SC20/01   Development Application No. 0199/20 – Development Assessment Summary

Executive Summary

This report describes Development Application No. 0199/20 for demolition of the existing buildings on 23 Gordon Street (Lot 20, Section 6, DP 758258), 25 Gordon Street (Lot B, DP 346105) and 27-31 Gordon Street (Lot 123, DP 749233), Coffs Harbour and provides a copy of assessment documents for the application’s determination.

At its meeting of 12 September 2019, Council resolved the following:

That Council’s development application 0199/20DA for the demolition of building at 27-31 Gordon Street, Coffs Harbour be brought back to Council for decision.

At its meeting of 12 October 2017, Council adopted the ‘Development Applications – Consideration by Council Policy’, which outlined:

That development applications for approval involving substantial aspects of the following elements be referred to Council for determination:

–     Significant public interest and community input;

–     A proposed variation to the Local Environmental Plan that varies from the development standard by more than 10%;

–     Significant land use; and

–     Major environmental issues.

Following public exhibition of the application Council received sixty submissions. Accordingly, this matter is reported to Council for determination due to the resolutions above and ‘significant public interest and community input’.

This application has been assessed externally by Armidale Regional Council.  A copy of a Summary Report, S4.15 Evaluation Report and Draft Conditions that they have provided as documentation of their assessment is appended to this report.

Recommendation: That Council:
1.       Approve Development Application No. 0199/20 for Demolition (of existing buildings) at 23 Gordon Street (Lot 20, Section 6, DP 758258), 25 Gordon Street (Lot B, DP 346105) and 27-31 Gordon Street (Lot 123, DP 749233), Coffs Harbour subject to the conditions in Attachment 3.
2.       Advise persons who made a submission on Development Application No. 0199/20 of Council’s decision.
A side view of the proposed new CCCC in Gordon Street

This DA was the subject of 874 submissions to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment who are ultimately responsible for approving or denying the application.

The Department is yet to make a decision on this and Outlook understand a number of objectors have since written to the Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, asking for public hearings to be held on the DA application and prior to any decision being made on it.

The proposed project was also the subject of a petition to State Parliament which raised almost 15,000 signatures in opposition to the new CCCC.

The proposal has divided Councillors four/four on a number of occasions with Mayor Denise Knight using her deciding vote to progress the project.

Interestingly the Mayor has recently been reported as now having declined to do this, saying a tied vote means the motion is lost based on Council’s code of conduct.

If correct this may raise issues pertaining to previous votes where the Mayor did exercise her casting vote. See; https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/huge-number-of-opposing-da-submissins-has-council-pleading-for-more-time/

The full agenda for the Council meeting this Thursday can be found at this link; https://infocouncil.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/Open/2020/02/CO_20200213_AGN_2211_AT_WEB.htm


  1. Why is this process being driven forward at full throttle by council executive before the DA has been approved and when there is a cloud over whether the original vote for the motion to approve the project is indeed legitimate, given the mayor now admits that exercising her deciding vote was in breach of the council’s code of conduct?

    For those people who would like to request that a Public Inquiry be held to examine issues surrounding the CCCC proposal before the DA is decided upon, can contact the NSW Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes via the NSW correspondence portal at: https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/ministers/minister-for-planning-and-public-spaces/

  2. Richard McDermott

    And the decision will be four all with the mayor going against all governmental practice and protocol and voting to proceed despite the biggest public outcry against a project in this Council’s history.

    As the mayor is acting against normal process and protocol why not have the tenders made public against normal process and protocol? At least we could then see if there are any connections between the tenderers and members of Council, both elected and salaried.

  3. As this appears to be a gross violation beyond any normal practices or even ethics, may I suggest that our ‘civic leaders’ are digging their own graves.

    That is if they haven’t already done so.

  4. The more I think about it the more I suspect that what Councillors are being asked to agree to tonight is probably not legal and those who vote for it might even be opening themselves up to personal liability.

    If I am right the question has to be asked; ‘does the GM really know what he is doing?’

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