The Jetty Park. AKA ‘Ye Olde Brown Park’

 I am sure many Coffs Harbour residents have issues with our Jetty Park. The park is symptomatic of poor regional planning. As a public park, besides some interesting sculptures, it is largely unappealing.

By ‘John Cleese

On a landscape architecture level it is a total disappointment, executed by D graders. It should be a focal point of the beautiful Jetty area, it has all the natural geography to be enhanced.

The Jetty Foreshores Park under re-construction. Photo; AJ Civil Projects

Common complaints include no shade trees, limited parking , brown turf and a general poor horticultural vigour. So what went wrong with our $11 million park and associated works ?

Hopefully I can keep your attention !!

1/SOIL QUALITY : is a  questionable sandy loam, it was obtained somewhere  near Grafton supposedly. It contains many rocks and I believe there is a major salinity and PH issue with the soil. The general lack of vigour and poor plant growth indicate serious soil health issues. A simple lab test for soil and leaf tissue sample may indicate problems. Nurseries commonly use these tests on growing stock to test for fertiliser programs and soil mix issues. Did the imported soil meet  an Australian Standard test before purchasing or was it she will be right mate attitude ?

2/ PLANT SELECTION; Was a planting schedule submitted with the plan? The poor plant selection such as Banksia as a shade tree is beyond a joke. They are a medium tree suited to coastal littoral areas not shade trees. They are also in the Proteacae family and highly sensitive to phosphorous . A fact overlooked by council staff fertilising the parks turf and causing phosphorous toxicity in the Banksia,many have since died . Even the old parks Casuarinas seemed more appropriate and provided dappled shade.

Dozens of companies supply super advanced trees for major projects craned in, why were they not consulted? Instead we have this constant band aid replacement of dying trees with small trees and grasses, from the now defunct council nursery and tree farm.

3/ TURF : Poor selection of the turf species. Zoysia is a grass that loves heat and does not like the cooler months, hence it is brown over the winter months and Coffs Harbour gets cool in winter down to 5 celsius. Kikuyu, even soft buffalo,  would have been a far more suitable, it has a quick recovery to traffic and responds well to irrigation and fertilising. It handles the cooler weather well and stays green. Were local greenkeepers consulted? Tt could have been helpful

4/ IRRIGATION : poor design coverage and incorrect pop up sprinklers and pipe size  selection. It has been troublesome from  the beginning with rocks in the soil damaging the pipe work and wet spots and poor coverage.

5/DRAINAGE; Always an issue with an old park , the new park was supposed to solve drainage issues. The new park has few drainage rain pits and proper falls. A major oversight in a sub tropical climate which can receive over 500mm rainfall in a day . Was a hydraulic engineer engaged to design drainage and stormwater plan? 

6/ CARPARK; Again the old park had better parking.The new park has insufficient parking with just over a dozen parking spots. Another poor planning decision.

Jetty Foreshores Playgrounds for Kids | Mums of Coffs Harbour
The Jetty Foreshores Park kids ply area

7/ PARK FURNITURE : Aluminum benches and tables unusable in the summer heat with no shade are too hot to sit on! Don’t mention the seat heights,  at over 1.8m tall my feet do not touch the ground! The whole design should be commonsense. Attempts have been made to introduce shade sails years after the park opening but they are still inadequate.

Questions that requiring some answers.

1/ Who did the initial landscape design and plan and who approved the design?

2/ Was the  project tendered and who submitted tenders? Were the tenderers  qualified in landscape construction and what was the criteria of the tender ?

3/ Who supervised the whole construction of the project and who signed off on the final handover and what was the final cost of the park?    

Well surprisingly I did some research on the JETTY 4 SHORE project on the CHCC  website and it was very helpful!

The project was tendered and awarded in March 2017, at the cost of over $9 mill. Four companies tendered and their backgrounds were in earthmoving, building and plumbing. Bizarrely no landscape construction  companies tendered.

The project was lauded as a success with glowing praises , even winning a top excellence from the the Local Government Association in engineering.

Jetty Beach and the steps in question

I have not included the so called erosion steps that lead to the Jetty beach, that are now mostly covered in sand (see above). 

4 thoughts on “The Jetty Park. AKA ‘Ye Olde Brown Park’

  1. If John Cleese can so easily identify the problems with the park environment, why were the “experts” not able to foresee these problems and take steps to avoid them? There are so many capable, talented people in our community who would be able to assist in planning such projects, but their skills are not utilised. Clearly, if John had been part of the planning process, the job would have been done properly, first time.

  2. I went to that absolutely horrible Jetty Market on Sunday and compared to the lovely old market area among the trees it has about as much aesthetic appeal as the uptown car park market. Yet another irresponsible use of ratepayers’ money by this council.

  3. Julian , thank you for the compliment.
    I really cannot explain the mentality of CHCC and so called experts.It seems endemic in their employment strategy. There is a culture of the lowest common denominator and nepotism in my opinion.This dumbing down is lethal for our region.
    I agree there must be many capable people here but they are being ignored for the planning and execution of public works.
    God help us if the $76 million cultural centre goes ahead or even the Jetty development without strong scrutiny. I will write some articles on how CHCC distributes state and federal funding in certain areas, if the editor is interested !!

    Editors note: Yes the Editor is interested Mr Cleese. Very!

  4. Some further questions that you can add to your list. Why did CHCC erect the boardwalk fence directly in front of the concrete monument displaying plaques commemorating historical events in the harbour namely the visit by HM Queen Elizabeth in 1970, the Bicentennial celebration in 1988, the reopening of the Jetty in 1997 and a tribute to the late Ray Kratz AM (ex Deputy Mayor) for his efforts in procuring funds for the conservation of the jetty?

    Council could have terminated the fence on each side of the monument or erected behind it BUT they chose to fence it off like an unwanted piece of street furniture.

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