The following is one of the public speeches given in support of the recission motion and against the current Gordon Street proposal at the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting last Thursday 25 July. It is published unabridged.
By Jan Lindrum
Madam Mayor, Councillors, People of Coffs Harbour.
This City needs a CULTURAL CENTRE.
What this City does not need is:
- a rate payer funded Port Macquarie Glasshouse (pictured below); constructed in a congested space; managed by a Council; that bleeds at the rate of $7 million dollars per annum;
- a facility which ensures that the only performance space the people of Coffs Harbour will ever have is one built inside the Coffs Ex-Servicemen’s Club.
$76.522,000 million dollars & RISING.
The cart is before the horse.
No evidence to support the stated costings or value of existing assets has been made public.
There needs to be transparency by:
1. DISCLOSURE of the Valuation by Savills and critical assumptions; and
2. The Quantity Surveyor’s cost estimates which, in the Architect’s words include an “ALLOWANCE”,
I stress here, AN ALLOWANCE, AN ALLOWANCE of $36 million dollars for library, museum and gallery.
THIS BUILDING HAS NOT BEEN COSTED –
ONLY GUESSED AT.
YET in the Motion on 11 July last, four Councillors voted to enter into arrangements binding ratepayers to expend massive ratepayer dollars and sell ratepayer assets on assumptions NOT on actual costings or facts.
Council says: This building will cost $76.522,000 million dollars – AND RISING. How do they know? (Look at the Sydney Light Rail project. Racing in. No due diligence, spiralling costs, legal bills, compensation)
(2) Council SAYS it will reap $20 million from the sale of existing assets. Where are the facts?
(3) Council SAYS government will provide grants for the gallery, museum and library. Where is the evidence?
The Federal Government granted CITY HILL (below) for a performing arts centre, a museum, a gallery, a library and compatible hospitality & community uses.
A stand-alone facility will generate revenue, create employment, can be developed as a public/private partnership AND, like MONA in Hobart, has the potential to generate massive tourist visitation.
ART & CULTURE will attract thousands but the offering needs to be UNIQUE, not a limited gallery/museum in a Council Chambers jammed up against an old concrete carpark where parking is already at a premium and traffic already congested.
MONA in Hobart attracts over 350,000 visits per annum in a City of 220,000 people. It has transformed Hobart and the rest of Tasmania.
It is 9 minutes from the CBD, constructed on 3 1/2 hectares of land.
COUNCIL SAYS: 200,000 people per annum will visit Gordon Street? With respect, the carpark and CBD will be clogged, choked, unfriendly.
CITY HILL is the GATEWAY to Coffs Harbour.
Hectares of prime land.
Easily accessible from all directions and has ample space for at-grade parking, including for school and tourist buses.
Step back and properly explore the alternatives.
(1) CITY HILL granted by the Federal Government with an obligation recorded on the title for our Cultural Centre; AND
(2) Redevelopment of the existing landmark Council Chambers in accord with the Government Architect’s original plans which can be paid for by the sale of the Gordon Street site.
I URGE COUNCILLORS, not to shackle the people of this City when there are commercially viable options.
The mistake of the expenditure of $2 million dollars can be forgiven. BUT EXPENDITURE OF $76.522 million dollars AND RISING will not be.
Madam Mayor, this WAS NOT a matter for a “casting vote”. Please vote for the Rescission to allow a more considered position. A delay of 3 months is better than crippling costs and debts for decades to come.
Editors note: We are happy to publish the other public speeches, both for and against, as delivered to Council on either 11 or 25 July.
Just send as a Word document to this email address; [email protected]