Local, Opinion/Comment

“Let’s Just Flog Off Our Heritage – What is Council Thinking?”

FOR SALE –  HISTORIC POLICE STATION / RESIDENCE ACQUIRED & REFURBISHED AS A MUSEUM. 

TOTAL INVESTMENT $1.6 MILLION. NOW FOR SALE AT MARKET VALUE, (EST. VALUE  $800,000)  

By Tom Strickland AO

The current Museum also our former Police Station

What is Council thinking? This Heritage Building could soon be demolished!

As were four former civic/cultural properties in our CBD. Those four properties now form part of the C.Ex development.

Our museum building is a historical icon. Disposal of this piece of our heritage is the equivalent of a fire sale!

And the possible 50% loss incurred in this sale, will not be accounted for as an added expenditure in the mounting cost of its Gordon Street replacement.

How much is our heritage worth? How much of our history are we prepared to sacrifice? 

It would be a crime to dispose of this. It is the last community-owned heritage buildings in our city.

A previous CCO story on the sale of the Museum from last October that we are unaware of being refuted yet can be found here; https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/are-ratepayers-facing-a-loss-overall-on-sale-of-museum/

12 Comments

  1. Tom : is the Building Heritage listed .
    “Listed places cannot be bulldozed” Facts: State listing normally prevents demolition. The Heritage Council cannot approve demolition of a state-listed item. However, in some circumstances listed places can be partly demolished with approval, such as to remove detracting additions.
    The heritage places of NSW not only reveal the
    story of Australia’s past; they safeguard and enrich
    our present and future.

    • You are so right. Heritage listed properties cannot be sold.
      My grandmother’s house is a old Miners Cottage in Swansea NSW. Just before she passed we asked around about how to get it Heritage listed and we done so. After she passed away and we sold the house/cottage whomever brought the place was NOT allowed to knock it down nor build onto it. To say the least the new owner’s weren’t happy that they couldn’t knock it down to build on the property. So as far as I know, you are not allowed to knock a place down.

      But knowing the Coffs Council the Mayor will make some kind of loop hole IMO.

  2. Absolute insanity Tom by a bunch of very ignorant and arrogant councillors.

    After all of their underhand tactics and betrayal of trust, if what they propose comes to pass, these councillors together with the general manager, will long be remembered by the Coffs community for all of the wrong reasons.

    Rather than being hailed as visionary leaders, they will be despised by the majority of residents and treated as social pariahs. And that’ll be the outcome even if they don’t bankrupt CHCC.

  3. Mayor Knight will go down in Coffs Harbour’s History as the principle of the greatest loss of ratepayers money on a”BAD” decision , when the vote was 4 all, to use her casting vote to put us the ratepayers holding the “can” for this over the top totally unnecessary ego driven Building , She will make the loss of $8.8 million hit by collateralize debt obligations (CDOs) look small time in 15 to 20 years down the track.

    COFFS Harbour City Council lost $8.8 million over five years in a ‘high-risk’ investment since the start of the Global Financial Crisis in 2007.
    But that is only money , now we will lose more than money we will lose our Heritage Building plus our “future proof Council Chambers “.

    • Rikki Bekker

      As the CCO report back in October of last year points out even if they get the “reported $700,000 it will still mean that the combined purchase and refurbishment costs of the current Regional Museum at 215 Harbour Drive are $1,578,742. giving a potential loss of $878,742.

      A figure that does not include removal costs and any expenditure that might be required to amend a new storage facility.”

  4. Why can’t they turn that into a temporary homeless help facility???

  5. Tom strickland OAM

    Bill, my understanding is that there is some degree of heritage listing on portion of the property. The building itself may have been compromised by later renovations, however, I believe there is an outdoor section within the property of historic significance

  6. Tom: this is what I found, 1906 Coffs Harbour’s police station and Court House was built and served as such until 1930 .
    The Coffs Harbour station contained a courtroom and various offices besides police living quarters and two cells, with a forage room and two stables at the rear.
    The station was manned by a senior constable and a constable

  7. I wonder if the agent for the sale of the Council Chambers will mention the flooding that occurred in the last big flood in Coffs Harbour when there was approx fifteen feet of water in the basement of the Council Building , the lift was out of action for months Cars were floating around like corks in a bottle , the basement was where the Council kept a large amount of Documents most were lost plus other valuable items ( maybe some bricks??? )

  8. Richard McDermott

    My position is and always has been that the rot set in when the senior council employee, The Town Clerk was given Chief Executive Officer status and basically took command of council dealings.

    The corporatisation of local government has given an unelected individual far too much power in decision making. You only have to see how much the mayor defers to the CEO on just about everything. The senior council bureaucrat should be just the facilitator for a democratically elected council chamber with far less power than he has today and may I say far less remuneration.

    The Town Clerk as the title suggested was a servant of the council not, as we have in too many councils today, the mover and shaker.

    Whether this has come about because of the laxity of oversite by our elected officials or through the power of personality of the individuals employed as CEO’s they must be cut back to size and maybe then councils will revert to their true role of providing basic services for the community in timely and efficient manners.

    • It would appear the title ‘Chief Executive Officer’ is a title adopted by the ‘fraternity of local council managers’ in an attempt to glorify the role, I suspect, to lobby government to closer align remuneration levels to those of CEO’s of government corporations and private companies.

      OLG’s ‘Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW 2018’ only stipulates that the general manager be referred to as the ‘executive’ during council meetings. There is not reference to ‘CEO’. Every other reference to the position in the code and relevant legislation always uses the term ‘general manager’.

      Just another example of self-grandeur, self-promotion and empire building I suspect. As you say Richard, high time they were ‘cut back to size’ together with their remuneration levels.

  9. Tom Strickland

    Richard, this excess delegation of power has its roots in the NSW Local Government Act of 1993. Under the previous Act, the State carried a “bigger stick”, and would probably have moved more decisively.

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