Is it time for the anti-CCS four Councillors to resign en-masse?

Does an appointed Council administrator have the power to terminate contracts that are deemed to not be in the best interests of the community?

By Rodger Pryce

Research is needed!

I know mortgagees in possession can overturn leases. If the four Councillors who have voted against the Gordon Street project resign, a Council is unable to operate with only four Councillorsand an administrator would have to be appointed until election time.

No ifs buts or maybes.

Councillor Arkan may be the problem here, the remaining three, I believe, will understand we can not continue with this madness.

An additional thought. If the TCorp funding is not available to finance new Council Offices and the loan has been split so that TCorp can fund the part that does not include Council Offices, has the cost of the car park ever been costed on the basis that it is for the exclusive use for the Council employees?

What is this cost? A lot, several million dollars I believe. Add to that, the actual, honest, independently calculated, area that Council will occupy in this building, assessed by more than one independent architect at over 50%, then you have Council Offices responsible for around $45 million of the currently estimated $81 million cost.

So, $81 million less $45 million = $36 million.

Now where did I see that figure a few years ago?

So therefore if any funder runs the ruler over what is being built and won’t fund the new Council Offices, we may be building a building where $45 million of the cost will have to be sought from the private sector. TCorp will want the first mortgage. Any estimates, or educated guesses, out there as to the interest rate for $45 million with a second mortgage security?

It’s all looking worse, every day in my view.


First published at the Coffs Coast Independent News Facebook site – 8 May 2021. Reproduced with permission.

11 thoughts on “Is it time for the anti-CCS four Councillors to resign en-masse?

  1. Spot on Rodger! This fire has to be extinguished, or we lose the lot. The resigning Councillors would not lose face, rather they would be respected as heroes. The Minister for LG has ignored this community. Her extension of one year because of Covid has been one bridge too far. Another four months may just prove to be the breaking point!

  2. Maybe hold the horses, Rodger. And maybe hold this thought … what does the CBD need?

    Here’s why. It’s hard to let this go. CLB has raised the prospect of repurposing the existing construction, as it sits at the minute. Heaps of ideas would come. Quickly, again, how would an inner-city apartment development go? Imagine that big building repurposed to reap a bounty.

    And it need not only be that. What does the CBD need? A new boutique cinema; a gym; a discount store; a new post office? Ground level, around an atrium? What’s commercial and genuinely needed? Whatever those are, build these CBD-revitalising commercial areas into the apartment concept. Want to move to Coffs? Come and live in this.

    Surely a developer would see the dollars here. I think it’s very exciting. A new vision for inner-city living, combined with the modern amenities of a futuristic city, in an especial one-building precinct. Or do the deal for cheap housing, but with the same exciting design that does the city and its citizens proud, if a social conscience has to play a part.

    What’s it worth, repurposed? Sell the new plan outright? Keep a stake; percentage of sales?

    Same architect, same builder. Tendered, of course. Steve knows how that works, by the looks.

    And here’s the thing. The best of intentions get realised. The CBD is revitalised. The concept fits into a modern growing-city plan. Those who are pro-development get better than they currently are. Genuine cultural development, rather than the. absolute. basics. is unleashed of its forty-year shackles and can flourish properly — where it enriches the community through activities as well as providing the true massive attraction that’s waiting to happen. People are moving to the regions. Prices are up. Homes are short. It can heal the community. The crap and blowhard bullshit is silenced. This is a big, genuine visionary achievement that could do enormous good for everyone, right across the board.

    What have we got? A car park getting built, beauty, keep at it. Keep the councillors so the new project has its early elements done, and the architect can swoop in to deal with what of it is built meanwhile when we replenish the council. Steve McGrath is ordered, by governing body directive, to do as the councillors say (as a parting task, while a new GM is sought?).

    And now new candidates have a shining, positive, exhilarating position on which to stand. It is very, very exciting.

    What does the CBD need, Rodger? What’s Peter Lubans up to? What does Gowings think; can the new building-precinct dovetail conceptually for greater CBD/Council (community)/Financial gain? No more consultants from woop woop. We have the expertise and experience right here. Recapture the community vision, recapture the council, maintain the best intentions of the LGA but free of the nonsense, recapture the bigger future. Gotta happen, hasn’t it?

    Developers, we need you to quantify this thing. Candidates. We need you run on it if it holds good.

    1. I can guarantee you that if you ripped out the gallery and library that Coffs really does need, and told the architect to keep the outside, but fill it with apartments, you’d be spending your next few months looking for a new architect, because architecture is about a whole lot more than designing the façade of a building.

      Also, while I admire what Gowings have done in Coffs, if they’ve got ideas for what to fill a building with, they could start with their own, which has dozens of vacant tenancies, and an approved hotel development that remains unbuilt.

      1. Perhaps I gave the impression, but “ripping out the inside and keeping the facade” isn’t what repurposing is all about. The architect knows the structure of that size floor area, through the floor levels, on that block. It’s that structural knowledge that’s important to maintain upfront as it simply saves time. The end result would be unrecognisably different. Of course they’d see the redesign through. Gowings would have to be brought on board, as they could end up being a repurposed project’s biggest opposition, along with the C.ex – that is the point of their involvement, not for a repurposed project to act as a monument or critique of their development. But thanks for the power of inspiration!

        Keeping the same contractor means you can renegotiate penalties which are no doubt in the contract, ease the project sideways into the repurposed design, all more quickly, and not end up in court yet again.

        It is an opportunity to resolve the issue favourably across the board, and an excellent one.

      2. Further to the above. A developer can do some back-of-the-envelope calculations to see if it’s viable, looking at it as they do from their creative perspective with their fresh ideas for that block.

        The new council need not remain booked into the new project for its entirety. If the sums and profit add up, a new council need only cover and reclaim its costs so far and get out, keeping ongoing control as it would as it’s in that position already. This frees the new council to get onto proper cultural development for its citizens. If there’s profit in a repurposed project for the new council, terrific.

        The problem I see possibly, and have no knowledge of, is how any loans, if negotiated, and we can expect they will be by that time, play into this. For instance, can a council operate as a profit-making developer, or agent for it? If it’s a problem, then, again, let’s get creative with a solution, and take it to the State. This is an LGA in crisis over the current project, and a new council has leverage. It may be that a council can operate this way, if so, it’s a gift-horse.

        If the current CCS idea is built to completion, it stands to inflict continuing damage in two areas: the community will only remain divided, reminded of that division every time someone sees the building, for a lifetime; and the killer: that building wraps true cultural development in chains, for forty years.

        Stop the project and there’s half a hole in the ground with concrete and rods sticking up. What then? Straight to court defending the stop, an eyesore for years, clogged process to resolve it. Frankly, that’s better than the two major damages outlayed above, and let’s try to do that if that’s all we can. But repurposing presents as an opportunity, and it’s especially good as a new council holds a strong hand to negotiate it. And a lot of groundwork has been done that could be capitalised on.

        If there’s a better idea, let’s see it. This – repurposing – needs creative thought right now. It may be the last chance the community has to set up a way forward positively.

        1. It seems council can operate as a profit-making entity in Coastal Works and is also able to own and sell property, so I see no reason why your suggestion above would be out-of-bounds, 40cm. No doubt a change of building purpose would need a new DA and state government planning approval.

          J’s concerned that a new architect would need to be sought if a change of building use is pursued. While missing the point that a redesign would need to happen at building foundation stage and not after the building is completed, I don’t think a new architect would be such a bad idea as they would bring a fresh perspective to any new development.

          1. Sounds good, CLB. On the architect matter, a developer would have his or her own preference of course, though I’d be surprised if the current architect isn’t maintained in some capacity. In a meeting I heard the number of companies/entities engaged by BVN, was it eighty or so?, all of whom have researched and contributed to the design: from geotechs to plumbers and sparkies. That’s a lot of work and money required to have to start again.

            It’s really jumping the gun, yet there’s also some value in the current architect seeing through the project for those who support the current look of the building, as BVN has a particular style, and that may help some in the public sphere, and therefore the new project. I hasten to say though the end result would look different in almost every way except for that style. We also don’t know what contract terms BVN has with Council, and it may also be a case of having to slip that contract sideways into the new project. A developer would be all over it.

            It’ll be interesting to see if your repurposing idea grows community legs. Where it also gets interesting is to contemplate how a developer would go about securing the opportunity. Can’t expect them to publicly announce their intentions, but they would have to get public support as well as candidates supporting the repurposing proposal, so we’d hear about it soon enough. That, too, could involve current councillors — and in that there may be a surprise!

          2. Remiss not to add that Council may also have ownership over all of that research and info in the current BVN design, which would pass to the new council. It’s certainly on. I hope your repurposing idea as a potential solution gets a thorough public airing. Well done.

  3. A building-as-precinct – or some areas of it – for the aged? So close to town it’s in it. Packed with features and activities, and care facilities? Big market for it.

  4. The priority is not so much the resignation of the simple minded four, but the departure of the General Manager and his dutiful prime accountant.
    McGrath’s days are now numbered but being the experienced schemer, his ticket to “who the hell cares” are likely to be already tucked away in his fat wallet. As for Council’s Harry Houdini Mr Beswick, he would have had his resume polished and out among the Tasmanian, Brazil’s and Iceland’s employment agencies a month ago. Byeee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Coffs Coast Outlook - Your alternative Coffs Coast voice
+ +