Government responds to 15,000 signature petition on Cultural Centre/New Council Chambers

Coffs Coast Outlook has obtained the official Government response letter pertaining to the 15,000 signature petition on the proposed new Cultural Centre/New Council Chambers in Gordon Street.

It is from the Minister of Local Government, Shelly Hancock, (pictured below) and it is reproduced in full below for our readers.

Shelly Hancock, Minister for Local Government

On other matters relating to the proposed Civic Centre/Council Chambers Outlook understands that as of around 10.00 a.m. this morning a total of 591 objections to the DA for this project had been received.

The close off time/date for objections is 1.00 p.m. (13.00 hrs) next Tuesday 29 October. Drop them off at the administration desk at Park Beach Plaza or go to

It is extremely important though that each formal objection submitted should include at least one personalised sentence of some sort.


Next week once the Hansard reports are made public about the debate in State Parliament over the petition yesterday we will publish the arguments put forward by Coffs Harbour MP, Gurmesh Singh ,and also by the Opposition spokesperson on Local Government, Greg Warren (pictured below).

Greg Warren, ALP Shadow Minister for Local Government

As always it is now over to you the reader

9 thoughts on “Government responds to 15,000 signature petition on Cultural Centre/New Council Chambers

  1. Strikes me that in bureaucratic, between the lines speak in the last three paragraphs on page one of her letter the Minister in my opinion is in effect saying ‘Council have done the absolute minimum it had to do and as such I can’t do anything. But really it should take a breather and involve in more depth , and listen to, its citizens’.

    If I were the four Councillors who voted for this and CHCC Senior Administration I would not take this as a glowing endorsement. It strikes me as being anything but.

    However the Mayor’s ‘ticked all the boxes’ statement earlier in the week gives lie to the mind set at work here really doesn’t it?

    It all makes one wonder what vested interests, if any, may be being promoted and protected here with this project?

  2. My message would be, what are the vested interests of those against it? All criticism appears to have been honestly answered. What more needs to be thought about? The cost will not be less by delaying .

    1. If you can find any Marie let us know? Having said that with approx 15000 residents signing the petition I expect a few would have complaints.
      If you are referring to Citizens’ Voice I know of no one with a vested interest.
      I would also take issue with the “answers” you refer to. I have personally made a number of comments and challenge Council and supporters on this site and FB and I have yet to get an acceptable (if any) response, that couldn’t be not pulled apart.
      If you wish to try, could you please explain why council can now send mail outs to residents and take major advertisements when they wouldn’t do it at the start of the project?
      Alternatively, could you get the Mayor to explain why she sold out the performing arts in Nov 2015 removing it from the project and yet did not tell the public about replacing it with Council offices?
      Alternatively, could point me to public information, where the Council asked the community if they wanted or supported new Council offices instead performing arts space? (hint: there is none, they knew the answer and did not want it public)
      Let’s start with those 3. Other proponents are welcome to answer.

      1. I will give this a crack Chris. Nice work by the way.

        Marie – Cr Rhoades stated quite clearly at the Council meeting when he and three other Councillors walked out of the Chambers that he had been told by Gurmesh Singh and other Government figures that if the council chambers were to be included in the Gordon Street project no Government grants would be included. NONE.

        This apparently is a long standing bi-partisan State Government position and not one of the four Councillors who voted in favour of this contradicted him or argued otherwise. Not one. I was there.

        So if Council Chambers are removed, or the whole thing is moved to somewhere such as City Hill, then actually the cost will be less by delaying because Government grants will be available.

        1. Hi Ron
          City Hill is not an option today. It may have been in the past when purchased or given to Council. Today I understand City Hill Is in a flood zone and is environmentally challenged, trees,Koalas and whatever else the greens will find wrong with the site.
          Don’t you think Brelsdord Park would be a better option or Gordon street

          1. Hi Paul,

            If it is Brelsford Park then fine.

            What I want, as do many others, is a proper open analysis done of all the options that include a performing arts centre, no new council chambers and whether they would, as a result, attract both State and Federal subsidies for their construction and can offer good parking. This would still offer a better deal for ratepayers even if there is a delay.

            Most of the above are excluded from the current proposal in my opinion – Council Chambers excepted of course.

            And if that means some mysterious secret squirrel like ‘hush-hush deal ‘with a third party can’t go ahead then so be it. If there is some ‘deal’ done on the quiet and Council thinks it is so good then they can and should tell the ratepayers about it first in my opinion.

  3. The issues are many. Where to start? Importantly, there are less expensive and more intelligent options available that have not been explored. The question is: Why not? Secondly, there was no proper consultation “in the normal course”. That is simply not acceptable. Using rate payer dollars “after the event” in an attempt to justify expenditure to date and the decision to press ahead is disgraceful and, I submit, “not in the best interests of the people”. In fact, it is inherently dishonest as are the statements that have been caused to be published that this project, in its current form, will bring prosperity to Coffs Harbour. No economic study has been provided to substantiate those statements. This project will NOT create much-needed employment after the construction phase nor generate revenue. As I understand it, the 1 in 100 year flood has been exceeded in the CORE CBD and this building is likely, sooner or later, to be subject to flooding. Further, Gordon Street is a cramped and congested space; quite simply the wrong location for this building. Turning Gordon Street into Garden space would enhance the CBD. Insofar as City Hill; this site is pristine. It overlooks one of the best golf courses in the State of New South Wales. A public/private partnership to develop City Hill would be a far less expensive exercise, enable the people to take advantage of sizeable grant funding and provide the people with the performing arts facilities they so richly deserve. One would preserve the Koala corridors and nature trails. An arts/hospitality development in this locale would (a) be visual from the air; (b) is easily accessible from all directions; (c) provides ample space for at-grade parking for cars and tourism buses (far less expensive than basement parking); (d) provide the City with a Gateway and all great cities develop Gateways; and (e) development of City Hill would compliment the National Cartoon Gallery which currently sits as a shag on a rock. Flooding issues can be addressed. Finally, Councillors take an Oath to act in the best interests of the people and the LGA they represent. What does that mean? Does that mean it is okay for a Councillor to omit critical detail from his/her Annual Return? Does that mean it is okay to breach a core principal of the Westminster system? Does that mean it is okay not to explore less expensive and more attractive options? Does that mean one ignores the obligation to develop City Hill as documented on the restriction on user? Does that mean it is okay to declare one’s assets significant on one occasion and the same assets as insignificant on another? Does that mean it is okay to vote on an “UN-COSTED” schematic design with no knowledge of quantum of borrowings, interest rate, term etc.? Does that voting to sell publicly-owned assets at less than 10% of valuation? Does that mean failing to disclose valuations and Quantity Surveyor’s costings and assumptions?
    Janne C Lindrum

  4. Today’s Advocate. From the Mayor’s Desk. Mayor Knight says Council has “ticked all the boxes”. With respect, Councillors are elected to “listen to and act in the best interests of the people” not to tick boxes and, given the number of Objections lodged to the DA, logic dictates the Mayor was neither listening nor acting in the best interests of the people when she used her casting vote. Janne c Lindrum

  5. Janne ,you forgot to include the message from the Local Govt minister.She in fact made the point of urging us to “keep going”.I hope she is including the opposition to the project to “keep going”. Reading the Advocate is almost like reading a copy of the communist party newspaper Pravda, so unbalanced.

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