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Is Coffs Council really proposing to evict Air Cadets without adequate compensation?

It is so sad to finally realize that the Coffs Council is going to pull down the Air Cadet building ($500,000.00) at the old Coffs Harbour airport.

By Chris Tyson

This building was hard fought for and all monies were raised by the Air Cadets, the Parent committee, local businesses and charities. In the early days The Cadets had paraded at other locations that proved to small for the growing Squadron plus Instructors lugging teaching aids in their cars every week became impossible.

The current air Cadets Building at the Coffs harbor Airport

Hence the decision to build their own building. Now they are being asked to go back to the bad old days with no real compensation for what they are about to loose. (At times between 40 to 60 Cadets).

A first class facility for the youth of Coffs Harbour being closed down by Corporate Greed. Shame.

This was first published on Facebook on February 16 2019

See: https://www.facebook.com/toby.tyson.9?

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Editors note: The following comments were posted below the above item on Facebook (my emphasis added):

Andrew Fraser A disgrace! CHCC have an absolute obligation to build them another facility, but unfortunately are intent on flogging the airport to try and pay for the “Glasshouse” (aka new Council Chambers) in the centre of town.3L

Paul Bamford This is typical of Councils which are not in touch with the local community, they are only interested in THEIR own agendas and even though it may be over a few years, they will still do the damage as displayed with selling off the land from under the Air Cadets without giving them the same, IF not better facilities at the Airport and with room for growth in the future.


Isn’t it the most logical location to have the Air Cadets? A place where young enthusiastic recruits interested in aviation (and the Military) can SEE AIRCRAFT, HEAR AIRCRAFT and SMELL AIRCRAFT (especially burning Avtur), it gets “into your blood”, but many would not understand or have experienced it. I suppose Council will want the Navy Cadets moved away from the Jetty in the near future.


The airport would also be the idea place for the Army Barracks and Army Cadets where they can train, doing security exercises around Coffs Airport and also be picked up at their “front doors” by the RAAF transport aircraft to go on Exercises, and at the same time gaining a few more precious car parts near Centrelink, Coffs Harbour War Memorial Olympic Pool and Fitzroy Oval.


Both of our daughters did Air Cadets here in Coffs and I would have done the same if the Air Cadets were here in Coffs back in the 1960s, but I ended up joining the RAAF in 1970 following my father’s footsteps. The Air Cadets are a training ground all over Australia of young adults, from which many migrate into the RAAF as their chosen career path. Others, because of the training and discipline in the Air Cadets, go onto to join either the Police Force, Fire Brigade or Ambulance Service and many are also found in the SES.


The Coffs Harbour “Glass House” is going to be like Port Macquarie’s, with insufficient parking and Council relying on the existing Town Centre car park, which is what the struggling Town Centre retailers rely on for staff and customers to park. There is NO need for Council Chambers to be in the Town Centre, they could sell all their (OUR) land and have sufficient cash to build in a more appropriate location, such as City Hill, which is where the Library and Art gallery should be.


It is quite obvious to me (and others I have spoken to) that OUR Council has plenty of money as they are currently wasting OUR rates on glorifying THEMSELVES on TV Advertisements. They better not ask for a Rate Increase in the near future.

Rob Trezise Tell me this isn’t so !! Have they been offered a replacement or maybe join with the TS Vendetta in a joint facility ? At the airport or harbour ?What is the CHCC doing this for? The lunatics have taken over the asylum if this goes ahead😡1

Chris Tyson The council have offered to build an extension onto the Aero Club at 1/3 the size and shared by 3 other parties. Like we say back to the bad old days of carried all training aids as the original building is only just big enough as it is. In the mean time they will have to parade back at the Army base which was always to small. It would be nice to think that they could reimburse the Cadets or build a replacement – knowing there (sic) track record this will not happen.


  • Chris Tyson The council have offered to build an extension onto the Aero Club at 1/3 the size and shared by 3 other parties. Like we say back to the bad old days of carried all training aids as the original building is only just big enough as it is. In the mean time they will have to parade back at the Army base which was always to small. It would be nice to think that they could reimburse the Cadets or build a replacement by knowing there track record this will not happen.

6 Comments

  1. How pathetic. Desperate to follow their selfish agenda, they are willing to take away from even the young cadets. First the Air Force cadets; next the Sea cadets. Shame!

  2. Why does this story not surprise me a tenth of one iota?

    I’ll tell you why. Because the stories doing the rounds about this council gouging people and organisations left, right and center are many at the moment.

    There’s the story of market holders in the farmers markets on Thursdays giving up due to much higher than inflation increases. There are similar stories about child day care centers being his with rent increases five times the rate of inflation. Likewise community organisations being charged similar increases for hall hire too.

    Admittedly some are from a low base but these, and the story of the Air Cadets, all point to a Council focused on it’s agenda come hell or high water (pun intended – see this story – https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/could-the-one-in-one-hundred-year-townsville-floods-happen-on-the-coffs-coast/).

    What agenda is that? Andrew Fraser got it right above. The Council are intent on flogging the airport, and whatever else they can flog, screw and gauge, to try and pay for the “Glasshouse”/Taj Mahal in Gordon Street. something that has blown from $35m to $75m complete thanks to the $45m extra for ‘much needed’ Council Chambers – and all before a sod of soil has been turned. it will be something those Councillors who voted for, without doing real deep scrutinising due diligence, will come to regret – along with all ratepayers of course.

    And they don’t want to put the Arts Centre/ Library on City Hill because they want the Federal government to override the deed of gift so they can subdivide it for commercial development while also charging some of the highest fees in the western world to approve DAs (another story that needs telling).

    So they will do acts of sheer bastardry as they are doing to the Air Cadets in order to claw in as much money as they can. ICAC should look at this mob in my opinion.

    Yes, Rob Trezise, the lunatics have taken over the asylum – Paul Amos being a noble exception of course.

  3. Apologies for the typo – I meant gouge/gouging. Not gauge/gauging.

  4. Coffs is not alone as a city looking to or who have built an Art Gallery that becomes a portion of the City Council’s offices and chambers. Geelong (where some of Coffs Harbour City Councillors and staff went on a “fact finding trip” ( read junket) last year) landed in a world of trouble spending many tens of millions on a grandiose refurbished old library.
    This led to the Council’s sacking 2016.
    Much of the decision making fell to the free spending Geelong Mayor at the time; the flamboyant and controversial paparazzi photographer, Darryn Lyons.
    Still in Victoria, Shepparton, which already has a well respected and large art gallery, has embarked on a project to build another “Art Museum” away from the CBD at a cost of around $45million. This huge cost has caused great community anger, when only $10 million came from the Victorian Government with the balance still needing to be found by the community. It appears that a rate levy will be imposed to cover the short fall.
    Bendigo successfully refurbished and added to its gallery within budget and has reaped the rewards with many exclusive exhibitions and accolades.
    Looking at the picture in Coffs Harbour, what started out as a well needed update and enlarged library, then the realisation that the City’s art gallery was far too small for a city the size of Coffs Harbour, it was added to the discussion. City Hill was considered, but for some, felt too far from the CBD and the “donut effect” was raised as a diversion to bring the thinking back to keeping the CBD landlords happy ( there are only a few of them owning most of the CBD properties).
    There were rumblings that the Council owned land in Gordon Street could house all this and a new enlarged Council Chambers and offices to bring all the administration staff under the one roof in the CBD. The current offices and Chambers plus Rigby House could be sold to pay for the Gordon St project.However, the reality is that neither would be likely to realise the return expected.
    While the wish that City Hill could be disposed of to a developer or developers to cover the costs of the CBD Offices, Gallery, Library, and now a small museum has been added, the reality is that it would be highly unlikely given the covenants placed on the City Hill land when it was sold to the Council by the Federal Government. This is unlikely to change regardless of whatever Government is in power.
    We now have another decision by Council that is related to the CBD planning. This decision has the potential for bringing a windfall for any building owner or developer and reap millions of dollars in any building project in the CBD if they include residential accomodation in the project.
    As I understand it,Council will waiver any fees for such a building, subject to a few conditions. There must be some landlords in the CBD who have the ear of the General Manager and Mayor, and have convinced them that this is what Coffs Harbour needs to make the Council’s Gordon Street project a success.
    And still Coffs Harbour will not have an entertainment centre.
    While most ratepayers happily keep paying their rates year in year out and not taking much of an interest in the goings on by the CHCC, there are others both in and outside of Coffs who are thinking that something “fishy”is going on in the administration of the City.
    When a Council screws people, when a Council ignores its citizens, when a Council has one rule for one and other for another, when a Council spends money that it doesn’t have, nor is likely to have, the alarm bells start ringing so loudly they can be heard at Macquarie Street and in the offices of ICAC.

  5. Touche Archie. Absolutely spot on.

    I was only saying to ‘my other half’ the other day “this lot had better not ramp up rates again to cover this madness in a non-pay rise world again or the apathetic may truly stir in this City”.

  6. Listening to Coffs Harbour City Council meeting on their live broadcast last Thursday night I was shocked to hear one of the council staff refer to Council as a “corporation”. As I understand it it is councils role to provide services for the local community. It seems that much of what we see happening in Coffs Harbour serves to profit commercial enterprise, not the community. This alliance between business and government over community and government is tearing at the heart of our social fabric and feeding to an unhealthy and divisive culture in our society. Reading the above comments along with many people, I am dismayed by the continual usurping of community organisations and structures by our council. The Fishing Club, Coffs Memorial Pool, the Botanic Gardens and now the Cadets and other long term tenants in this precinct are just some of the organisations which have been targeted for special interest by Council. More often than not for the benefit of private investors. The long expected proposal to sell City Hill for residential development would be the nail in the coffin for any possibility of Coffs developing an outstanding Cultural precinct. The site which has the potential to offer some visual introduction to the urban, hinterland and ocean landscapes that make this place what it is, is immensely suited to the purpose it was purchased for. You have to ask , where will it end? Will the people of Coffs Harbour take responsibility for holding our council to account. Often you hear people talk of a lack of engagement within our community. I see it somewhat differently.
    I believe that after years of being ignored whilst at the same time asked to participate in consultation the community has been worn down. There is a fatigue that has arisen from this process and I cant help but wonder if it is intentional. On a lighter note it could be the abundance of fresh air, sunshine and the stunning coastal environment we all share that has lulled us into a state of delectation.

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