Local, Politics

Lipman Construction wins tender for early construction involvement for Gordon Street.

Building contractor Lipman Pty Ltd have been contracted to move ahead on with Coffs Harbour City Council’s $76.5m, current estimate, Cultural and Civic Space.

Lipman’s, who are based in North Sydney, have been appointed to run the Early Contractor Involvement services stage.

Councillors have been split 4-4 on the proposed new building since the middle of 2019. Photo – Trevor Veale, The Coffs Coast Advocate.

This new contract is basically a more in-depth next stage of the project. Council state its aim is to make sure all construction requirements and efficiencies are in place ahead of the start of actual construction itself.

The Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) services involve expert, elementary building support and and includes (but are not limited:

The Cultural and Civic Space will be built on Gordon Street.
The controversial Cultural and new Council Chambers which are scheduled to be built on Gordon Street. File photo from CHCC stock

 Fully interrogating the design for construction operation suitability, inconsistency, incompleteness or other issues;

 Ensuring the construction works are sufficiently designed and documented to ensure Council can get fixed lump sum pricing for the design completion and construction;

 Developing a ‘Scope of Works’ for the actual construction phase itself.

 Working with Council’s appointed architects in order to develop any detailed Design Documents;

Working with Council’s Cost Manager so as to protect the project budget;

The Cultural and Civic Space will include a Regional Gallery, Central Library, Regional Museum and Council office space.
The Cultural and Civic Space will include a Regional Gallery, Central Library, Regional Museum and Council office space. Picture from Heart of Coffs website

Last month, Council approved the appointment of consultants to manage the above phases of the project. 

With votes tied four-four Mayor Denise Knight once again used her casting vote at the meeting, held on February 13, to support the three different motions to award the tenders for those three key roles.

According to a Council Press Release the new building will;

  • “provide access to cultural opportunities and facilities that are not currently available in Coffs Harbour;
  • create a cultural precinct and cultural tourism opportunities;
  • provide lifelong learning, educational opportunities and improved literacy;
  • increase social wellbeing and connections;
  • bring economic benefit to the region; and
  • help develop a vibrant and active central business district and city centre.”

No new Entertainment Center or Performing Arts Center is envisaged in the building.

Council states an “independent economic assessment has identified a host of benefits to the CBD including financial gains over a 30-year period totalling $57m with 31 on-going jobs. When in operation, it is projected to contribute $2m annually to the Gross Regional Product through support of local businesses.”

Based on a CHCC Press Release – Tuesday 17 March 2020. See; https://www.news.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/2020/03/17/cultural-and-civic-space-takes-another-step-forward/


  1. I am puzzled as to why any business would want to become involved in a development for which there is, as yet, no approval.
    Perhaps this company can make a profit by involvement in this stage only.

    • Graeme Sheehan

      I know that by commencing works on a project without development consent can jeopardise a builder’s licence. Not sure if there are any limitations on ‘early contractor involvement’ without development consent. Regardless, council has committed council/ratepayer funds to remunerate this company whether or not the project gets approval, which is not only reckless, but unconscionable.

  2. It’s no doubt these services will be great, but it’s a tonne of rate payers money without offering yet an entertainment space? If all of this money gets chewed up on this project (especially at a time when corona is hurting everyone’s hip pocket), how are people even going to afford their rates & rate hikes to cover this?
    And when ALL the money that’s available goes into this one kitty, then there will be no money left to build or find a genune Entertainment Centre, without even more pressure on local people’s rates ONCE AGAIN.
    Some Coffs Harbour rates are higher than some in Sydney! How long can the local people (who already deal with one of the highest unemployment & homeless rates anywhere), keep forking out these exuberant rates!!!
    Coffs used to be a nice place to live, but now it’s known for its unemployment, creek & land poison Bluberries (replacing the poisoning bananas of Sprays & land of days gone by), homelessness, highway walls now cutting off its travelling ocean highway views.!!
    And NOW to TOP it ALL off….maybe a bloody NUCLEAR REACTOR..!!
    Talk about a MASSIVE FAIL….the people of this town REALLY need to WAKE-UP to WHO they are VOTING FOR!!!

  3. Tom Strickland

    Donna, Under this same Council a few years ago I was “invited” as a citizen to participate in budgetary feedback as part of our “Community Consultation”. Crying poor-mouth, the propaganda stated that Council would not even budget to cut the grass on our parklands. I was provided with a copy of the proposed Council Budget. The exercise was to work on Council’s budget by examining priorities and re-allocating expenditure. I spent quite some time on this project, only to find that some cost allocations were barred. I found that the program would only allow you to move in a controlled direction, arriving at a predetermined result! When I paused, and queried why the exercise was controlled in this way, I received no response. Not surprisingly, I have never been invited again to participate in our so called “community consultation”.
    Ironically, we have this present spending spree, where millions of dollars are invested in the CCS project, with no DA approval!
    In a recent Council Meeting where the executive responded to questions of costs. Discussion: “Was that 2.5 mil ?” – “No more like 6 mil.”
    Is this a game of monopoly?

  4. If only they listened, especially the Mayor, trying to railroad this ridiculous and unwarranted extravagant project onto the residents that actually have to pay for this on the never never plan.

    When the current Council building was designed for expansion upwards and is ignored and other more pressing resident’s issues such as developing the Jetty Harbour as an international cruise ship port with infrastructure to support the massive influx of tourist dollars that would actually bring money into Coffs Harbour instead of milking rate payers unsustainably.

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