Coffs Coast Business, Local, Politics

Gordon Street infrastructure spend “no bad thing” – Mayor Knight

Mayor Denise Knight has argued in a recent radio interview with A.B. and Ben on Hit 105.5 that Council spending on infrastructure such as the proposed new Civic Centre and council Chambers “is not a bad thing”.

Knight and the proposed Cultural Centre and Council Chambers

The Mayor also argues in the same interview that the Gordon Street building is supported by the majority of Coffs Harbour ratepayers and that “a small loud group” only is opposed to it.

Here her interview here: https://www.hit.com.au/story/mayor-denise-knight-on-why-spending-on-infrastructure-is-not-bad-138534

28 Comments

  1. John Christie

    Just listened to this interview. God help all of us with such an arrogant Mayor.

  2. Never heard such RUBBISH coming from a person who was elected to serve the local ratepayers .
    Stop under minding the Coffs locals ( we are not stupid ) telling us what we need .
    Your statement that only a small amount of ratepayers are against this is VERY WRONG it is obvious you are in a Bubble of your own.
    So you seem to have 2 votes on this , must make you twice as knowledgeable as the rest of us?

  3. Apparently we have a Mayor ‘living in a river in Africa’. Denise in denial no less!

    If what has been going down here recently is ‘a small loud group’ I’d hate to see a big really loud one then.

    And spending on infrastructure needs to properly targeted so as to work too Madam Mayor. Don’t take my word for it here is SMH Economics Editor Ross Gittins on the topic in 2015;

    “It’s the great conundrum of government policy: we have a big shortage of infrastructure, but also waste billions on it.

    This seeming contradiction is easily explained: particularly in recent years, and at both state and federal levels, much money is being spent on infrastructure projects.

    Trouble is, a lot of the dough’s being spent on flashy or low-priority projects, at the expense of more important but less sexy projects,”.

    Read it all here; http://www.rossgittins.com/2018/07/why-so-much-spending-on-infrastructure.html

  4. There is no denying we need a new Library, Art Gallery, Museum, Entertainment Centre, Cultural and Heritage Centre. We also need each facility in a purpose built building planned for future expansion not crammed into on multipurpose building that will be too small to house everything in a short term, especially when it is not capable to house what is planned to put in there, the Museum will only be a ‘token’ Museum.
    Regarding City Hill. I am still to hear a plausible reason why City Hill is not suitable. A ‘green space’. Yes we are fortunate enough to have a lot of green space in and around Coffs Harbour. Considering City Hill was sold by the Federal Government and bought by the Coffs Council for the sole purpose of being a Cultural Precinct not all that long ago why now is Council so willing to discard it. Who would like an Art Gallery, Museum in a City Block or have them and other Cultural, Heritage and Entertainment Centres in a pleasant usable park land setting.
    Be a visionary, look at our past and look to our future. But according to our Mayor I am just one of the few loud people that wish to see City Hill utilised for the purpose it is intended for.

  5. RE: THE MAYOR’S INTERVIEW
    Let’s break it down. Yes, I agree, we all find change difficult but this debate is not about change. It is about the provision of an ARTS PRECINCT versus the development of a UN-COSTED citadel in a cramped and congested space. The argument that libraries are built inside cities is not the case in Sydney. The Mitchell and State libraries sit on the outskirts of the Sydney commercial district. Notre Dame University (Broadway). UTS (Broadway). Sydney University (Broadway).

    When listening to this interview, one must continuously remind oneself that the Mayor used her casting vote to (a) press ahead with an UN-COSTED development clearly against the wishes of the people she represents (a breach of a core principal of the Westminster system); and (b) stamped her approval on a motion that permits the sale of publicly-owned assets at less than 10% of their value. Nil disclosure of Quantity Surveyor’s costings and assumptions on the Gordon Street proposals. Nil disclosure of the valuation of the publicly-owned assets. Nil Economic Study in support of the stated 1,500 tourists per day which is completely unsubstantiated. Nil disclosure of how this proposed development will generate employment/create revenue rather than shackle the ratepayers and residents with crippling debt for generations to come and leave them without the Performing Arts facilities. Nil confirmation of quantum, term, interest rate on borrowings (as required in accord with the Rules).

    “A Motion or an amendment to a Motion if passed would require expenditure of funds on works and/or
    services other than those already provided by Council’s current adopted operational plan, must identify the
    source of funding or the expenditure that is the subject of the Motion. if the Motion does not identify a
    funding source, the Council must defer consideration of the matter, pending a report from the General Manager
    on the availability of funs for implementing the Motion.”

    I post the Motion was defective. It was PATENT at the meeting on 25 July last that the Councillors were
    “uninformed”. How could they make a decision of such magnitude in the absence of critical information, including comparable data; Gordon Street versus City Hill; redevelopment of existing Council chambers versus citadel in Gordon Street.”

    Nothing said of the DUTY to develop CITY HILL.
    The “PROMISE” that attaches to the title of that land.

    From an environmental perspective, there would be no need to touch the Nature corridor connecting the Cartoon Bunker with the site and I suspect an ENVIRONMENT IMPACT STUDY would reveal that there are no issues that prevent the development of CITY HILL. This study may, in fact, have already been done. It may sit in the archival boxes along with the rate-payer funded Stage One Engineering Plans and original architectural concepts.

    So, what would the development of an ARTS & HOSPITALITY PRECINCT on CITY HILL offer the people of Coffs Harbour?
    CITY HILL is easily accessible from all directions.
    CITY HILL offers plenty of space for at-grade parking which is far less expensive than basement parking.
    CITY HILL is visual. It would become an ICONIC LANDMARK.
    CITY HILL will create employment and generate revenue.
    CITY HILL will provide the City with a GATEWAY and GATEWAYS are known to put cities on the map.
    Government Grants are available for the development of CITY HILL.
    Government Grants are NOT available for the proposed Gordon Street development.
    CITY HILL connects with the Cartoon Bunker which currently sits as a shag on a rock.
    CITY HILL overlooks a pristine golf course touted as one of the best courses in the state of NSW.
    CITY HILL is 4 minutes away from the CBD.
    CITY HILL offers the opportunity to create a stand-alone PERFORMING ARTS & HOSPITALITY PRECINCT.
    CITY HILL should be compared with the Tweed/Margaret Olley Gallery which sits on a pristine parcel of
    land overlooking the Tweed River and Mount Waring.
    The fact that no comparable information was presented “highlights the complete lack of genuinely empirical research done by the Executive within Council.”

    The Mayor states in this interview that “a loud minority” are against the Gordon Street proposals.
    Well, the Mayor has a duty to listen to all of the people and that promise was part and parcel of her platform when she stood for election. This said, I do not believe that the objections flow from a “loud minority”, I think they flow from an overwhelming MAJORITY of the people and, if a plebiscite was conducted, the Mayor would be forced to face that reality.

    Insofar as winning an Award for planning; which was reported in The Coffs Coast Advocate in an article featuring a photograph of the proposed Gordon Street development, which was, in my opinion, deceptive and misleading; the Council won an award for PLAYSCORE; a focus group based qualitative research model for Local Council’s in NSW. According to one source, “this award wouldn’t be hard to pick up because a minimal number of regional Councils use it!”

    The BATTLE FOR CITY HILL has begun and I hope and pray that the people of Coffs Harbour get the PERFORMING ARTS & HOSPITALITY PRECINCT they so richly deserve.

    Heights have been increased in the CBD and both the C.Ex Club and Gowing have expansion plans and/or potential expansion plans. It is up to the entrepreneurial thinkers in the CBD to use their own capital to
    to build the City. It is not up to the ratepayer to build the City for them.

    Council should be consolidated by redevelopment of the existing chambers in accord with the original
    Government Architect’s plans.

    The publicly-owned assets should be retained for the present. More thought is needed. Selling-off the farm may not be, and probably isn’t, in “THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE”.

    Finally, on the one hand, Coffs Harbour is a MAGNIFICENT CITY and all who live within her realms are blessed but it is also a dislocated, dysfunctional and disconnected City. The most intelligent course would be to take a breather and MASTER PLAN the whole. Short-term thinking never delivers best outcomes.

    Janne C Lindrum

  6. I just. Listened too this radio interview and almost vomited into my Weetabix. Seriously …this women lives in a bubble!!! What an ARROGANT women she is and showing her true character and colours.
    This is who was voted by the Advocate over a year ago as” Coffs Coast Most Influential Person.”
    I think Power and Dictatorship has gone too her head!!!
    Good too hear that you can sleep well at night Mayor Knight….. As the growing homeless population that are all around the CBD, Coffs Creek areas living out of cars…. do not have that privelage!!!
    Talk about DENIAL ….believing that the Majority are for it …and a very vocal minority are against it!!!
    I so hope that ICAC and the administrators come too town and BURST you bubble Knight Mayor! Ring Ray Hadley Mayor Denise Knight…..he is waiting for your call …..

    Regards Max

  7. John Christie

    Major Knight or should we refer to her as KNIGHTMARE!
    She might be “sleeping well” but us “loud minority” are having knightmares, knight after knight.

    • I could not agree more with you John …after listening too this interview …..it made me almost vomit. Your comment has made me burst into a gut wrenching giggle …so thanks for that mate ….I so needed that.. as laughter is the best medicine….and Knight Mayor is a Joke!!!

      Cheers 😀😀😀

      • Once again ( 3 times today). I am Max Smart not Max Knight. I am sure Mayor Knight has put a Spell on me ……Knight is imprinted in my brain after listening too that Interview on FM 101 today! 🤣🤣🤣

      • John Christie

        Max, I emphasise with you having to share a surname with Dictator Denise, it must be embarrassing for you. I share the same name as a famed London murderer but that’s not as bad as your name sharing issue. Perhaps, we can think of other names for some of our Council people e.g. ‘Springbok Adendorff’, ‘Sneaky Steve’.

        • No John my Surname is Smart. Today 3 times I made typo errors and typed in Knight after listening too her radio interview with FM 105. It seems Knight has now been imprinted in my brain.
          I like your other names knick names you have suggested.
          Regards Max 😃

  8. You only have to look at the contradiction between the Mayor’s declaration of conflict of interest in 2013 and how she and the General Manager failed to force Cr Adendorff to recognize his in 2019. It is a simple comparison but speaks volumes for sad state of governance in our Council. There are clearly influencing factors behind the scenes.

  9. It’s clear why Denise chose to be interviewed by the very agreeable ‘A.B & Ben’. She wasn’t asked anything of account or relevance and basically guided the interview herself by asking and answering her own questions. Shame she won’t grant Ray Hadley an interview. If the vast majority agree with her ‘vision’, they certainly haven’t made their support very visible. Anyone heard from Andrew Fraser?

  10. To clarify Council’s financial acumen for everyone, here is a breakdown of financing the project based on their quoted assumptions. Bear in mind they were confused on whether the loan term would be 20 or 30 years.

    1. Loan amount $46mil (assuming they sell assets for $20mil, they have $10mil in savings stored somewhere and their project management capabilities have improved exponentially since the water detention, sewer upgrade and water supply projects)

    2. Interest rate 2.6%

    3. 30 year term

    Calculation for monthly principal and interest repayments are $184,156 per month for 360 months

    Total repayment is $66,296,253

    Conclusion:
    After deducting the principal sum borrowed $46,000,000, the ratepayers will pay $20,296,256 interest or the equivalent of 41% of the amount borrowed.

    Just consider, what if the General Manager is incorrect in the asset sales or cannot deliver the potentially fictitious $10mil in savings, or if there are the almost guaranteed build cost blowouts?

    Borrowing $76mil will increase the debt and corresponding interest to over $304,000 per month.

    Bear in mind that the building delivers ZERO income and hence contributes ZERO to any repayment!

    Make your own conclusions on what other opportunities, facilities or services could be provided to the whole Council area and communities if this project were cancelled.

    My suggestion is that since Council has been charging CBD owners “Special Rates” for special attention and favours, then let the CBD “Special Rates” increase to pay the total cost. This is NOT a burden to be born by the whole community for the benefit of a few.

  11. Well said, Chris. Janne

  12. Max Brinsmead

    Well said Janne C Lindrum. This has not been the finest hour for our democracy. The Mayor who cast the deciding vote carries a heavy burden of responsibility when there were so many ways that this could have been done better. Please someone tell me that decision can somehow be revisited?

  13. Margaret England

    I don’t understand. Where were all these people during the planning stage? Face it folks, this is the best you’ll get this time around. The good people of Coffs Harbour understand footie, car rallies, yacht races etc but don’t get the importance of the arts. What provision has any council made over the last ten years for people who don’t own yachts, couldn’t care less about footie and find the world car rally nothing more than environmental vandalism?

    • Max Brinsmead

      I am not interested in footie, yachts, car rallies and I don’t have much interest in the arts either. But I am passionate about Coffs Harbour and its future and this decision has NOT been appropriately offered for public comment IN ITS CURRENT DESIGN. Please detail the timeline for this project and its various costings and convince me that it has not been a snow job equal to that of the Bypass fiasco.

  14. Rod Condliffe

    I would say this to the Mayor of this fine City of ours . Put your money where your mouth is and Put it to all the Rate Payers in the form of Poll or a letter to all legitimate landholders with a yes or no vote and have the results overseen and determined in full by an appropriate Independent body with full impartiality .
    I would hope that our Illustrious Mayor would rise to the occasion and put it to us all and let the people decide rightfully, Yes or No. After all it is OUR MONEY that’s in Question.
    After all, especially in the light of recent events in the Courts, with the Orders of the Courts for compensation to be paid with Intrest and Court Costs of 4.5 million dollars, I think the Ratepayers should be able to have more of a say in how our money is spent and not be treated like Morons by this DISRESPECTFUL MAYOR.

  15. Yes we need a new library, entertainment centre, art gallery, civic centre & we need to extend on the existing council chambers.
    And from the looks of these post, more IMPORTANTLY we need a new MAYOR,
    Denise your job is to LISTEN to your electorate, not IGNORE them, which is obviously what your doing. It’s a stronger woman who can admit when they are WRONG..! Just look at this MONSTROSITY it’s bloody UGLY too..! I could design better myself. 😳 The cleaning alone in a nightmare.!!! You can’t sit in the courthouse near those huge glass wall panels without dying of sweat..! Just ask the people & staff about the flaws in that design, which are now being replicated in this building.
    It’s a HUGE tax payers cost to get this WRONG..! And your getting it WRONG.
    Listen to your electorate because your GONE the next election…I hope you realise that??

    • Donna Pike. It saddens me deeply that at a Council meeting last year some time you made a passionate 5 min speech asking for assistance from Council too help with Coffs Coasts increasing Homeless Situation .

      If my memory serves me correctly …I think it was the same meeting that they voted on $ 2 million to be spend on schematic Designs to go ahead with this $ 100 million plus ugly duckling Building to be built on Gordon St.

      Ironically right next door to the Soup Kitchen where many homeless are fed by the Methodist Church daily.

      Mayor Denise Knight said ” Well Done” … But you were ignored effectively Donna.

      You are a lady of Heart and are continually doing so much for the Community especially the homeless and under privelaged that are doing it tuff .

      As you no …people living homeless and living on the Streets are the Ears & eyes and see what’s going on in their communities. They are like Human CCTVs and street smart. They have too be for their survival.

      More importantly they are human beings. Having Earth Angles like you Donna Pike to help and Assist these people …. makes you a VERY SPECIAL LADY!!!
      You are pure love and come from heart. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤

      Mayor Knight… or now I call her DENIAL DENISE… Does not want too address the Homeless, the ICE EPIDEMIC, the mental Health & Crime issues associated with Coffs Coast LGA . Its one of the highest ICE regions in Australia and is known as ICE HARBOUR.

      Mayor Knight lives in her bubble with her minority tribe and does not live in Reality . …believing the Majority are for the building …and using the words …Jesus….It makes us look like CRIPPLES in the secret whispers on Ray Hadley Show. Then when confronted by Ray Hadley…DENIED IT!!! Always Denying the Truth!!! That’s our Denise who was voted by the Coffs Advocate in July 2018… as Coffs Coasts Most Influential Person….what a joke!!!

      The only positive I can ask you too share with the homeless is that when it’s built they can all go next door after their meal from the Soup Kitchen and use the Free Computers & Wi fi in the new Library. They can access hot water in the Amenities for bird baths and shaves, have comfortable sofas and chairs and most importantly …they will have heating & air conditioning in both winter and summer!!!

      As residents of Coffs Harbour they cannot be denied too use this public space. Having travelled Australia and using the Libraries for the free Wi fi ..I have met many homeless people who do this and in listening too their stories I have learnt so, so, so much. We all have a Story too tell.

      What’s more Ironic that the Salvation Army who are an army of Earth Angels who help the homeless & under privileged owned the Gordon St site with their OP SHOP.

      It will be knocked down and replaced with this $100 million dollar plus Council Chambers Civic Space …built around the Fig Tree over looking the filthy dirty car polluted fumes multi level car park.

      It will Symbolise Power ,Greed & Arrangance of GM Steve McGrath, Mayor Denise Denial Knight, Cr Michael Shady Chamber of Commerce Aidenorff, Cr Chamber of Commerce George Cecatto and Cr Bellingen Resident Sally Townley.

      Let’s turn this around and spread the word that our growing homeless CBD residents will be able too spend time off the streets and out of their cars and have the FREE luxury of this new Civic building right next door too where they eat.

      They want too bring residential residents too Activate the CBD…. so let the
      current residential residents of the homelesss who live on the creek , on the Streets, in their cars ,in tents behind the Community Centre come and support use this New Civic Space daily when it is built…..as CBD Residents.

      Most of all let this new Library help give them Hope and resources too improve their life and self esteem and some Luxury with having FREE facilities too use daily with comfort.They will tell their friends and then bring more CBD residents too Coffs Harbour too use the new Vibrant Shiny Building as the Heart & Soul too this City as part of the Master CBD plan. Build it they will come.

      Once More Donna you are a Mother Therese as is your team of volunteers . God Bless you all !

      Regards Max 🙂

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