What is the ‘true cost’ of the Museum sale?

At the last Coffs Harbour City Council meeting on Thursday 26 September Cr Keith Rhoades attempted to ask a number of questions as ‘Matters of an Urgent Nature” about the decision to sell the current Museum in order to partially fund the new Cultural Centre and Council Chambers in Gordon Street.

A 1920’s photo of the building that is now the Museum in Harbour Drive

Cr Rhoades attempted to ask the following questions;

(1) “Is it true Museum staff and volunteers have been instructed to have some 4,000 items wrapped and moved by 1 December this year?”

(2) “Does Council have premises with controlled temperatures to store these items?”

(3) “Can Council confirm that the current Museum site in Harbour Drive cost approximately $800,000 and has additionally had a refit of approximately $900,000 giving a total asset value/cost to Council of around $1.7M? Is it true market indications are that Council may only get a sale price of approximately $700,000?

Cr Rhoades

The Mayor declared that the matters raised by Cr Rhoades were not urgent and did not allow the questions to be put forward at last Thursday’s meeting.


  1. Please explain to me how is the Mayor able to stop these three Questions, put forward by Cr Keith Rhodes .
    I was always of the opinion that Council meetings were supposed to be an example of our Democratic system at work ?

    • Yes Bill, it is extraordinary that one councillor can have two votes to get a contentious decision across the line and follow up by stifling debate of legitimate questions on issues surrounding that decision. This is ‘democracy ‘ Denise style.

  2. So it’s not urgent that we know if we may be a million ‘down the gurgler’ on the museum sale or whether our historic museum collection can be looked after properly if it is moved in a rush just before Xmas?

    The Knight/McGrath ‘clown show’ at the CHCC has profoundly disturbing, anti-democratic ‘priorities.’ Of that I feel certain.

  3. What is the council doing it stuffing up all over place and cost us money. For something thetown dosnt want

  4. Another letter to the State Minister for Local Government is required. Best sent via Gurmesh Singh with copies to all councillors.

  5. Tom Strickland

    Council will not pause to consult. We need to draw attention to major issues.


    At a total outlay of $1.7million, Circa 2012, our Museum was removed from the CBD and relocated 350 metres to the east in Harbour Drive. Now Council wants to return this facility to the CBD as part of the new Cultural and Civic (Council Offices) Space. Our Museum fully deserves its place as a cornerstone of Coffs Harbour’s Cultural History, but consider the current decision-making process, then ask yourself: “Is this really progress, based on sound economic principles”?

    Clr. Arkan pointed out that “..an Elephant won’t fit in a rats cage”:
    · Of 4000 museum items, only 10% can be displayed at any time. Suitable storage will have to be provided for 90% of our Museum Collection. Where will that space be available?

    · Current planning indicates the Museum will not be totally displayed on one floor and must share access via the Art Gallery.

    Clr. Rhodes was “gagged” by the Mayor when asking a question under “Matters of an Urgent Nature” at the 26 Sept. 2019 Council meeting:
    · Will suitable storage be available to preserve historic Museum items at the proposed Civic Space?
    · Is it true that staff and volunteers have been told to wrap and remove all 4000 items by 1st December 2019?
    · Would Council confirm that the current site was acquired for $800,000 and refurbished at an additional cost of $900,000 and that the current sale value may return as little as $700,000?

    Our citizens deserve answers to these questions. Where mistakes have been made, the problem should be addressed, not cloaked in misleading rhetoric or totally ignored.

    Museum supporters are probably feeling equally “short-changed” as those defending the Civic Venue and Performing Arts.

    Editors note: Reproduced from the Citizens Voice Coffs Coast Facebook page.

  6. Chris Bramley

    So right Tom.
    Council are going to lose $1million but hey, who cares? Sure the public may complain, we will just ignore them as usual. The Mayor can brush it over by spending another $1600 of their money to advertise how silly they all are for not believing her and her mentor.

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