Minister Dodges Mayor, But Happy To Front Media

Coffs Harbour City

State Property Minister Steve Kamper says a plan to slice off a section of publicly-owned land at Coffs Harbour’s Jetty Foreshores to accommodate up to 450 dwellings is “fairly light on”.

“That is equivalent to more than seven Pacific Towers,” said City of Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Paul Amos who is leading the charge to keep the Foreshores as the ‘People’s Playground’.

“So if that colossal number of units is fairly light on, what is the true intent of the development of the flood-zoned land between a road and the railway track at the Jetty Foreshores?” the Mayor said.

With a plan so short sighted that it lacks a second access for 450 extra dwellings, it is certain to put additional pressure on car parking at the already busy Foreshores.

Mr Kamper, who is regularly unavailable to meet with the popularly elected Mayor, was guided around the Foreshores site on Tuesday, 2 April, by Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh, with the Minister telling media the pair were “in lockstep” on plans to clear the way for high-rise at the Jetty.

The NSW Government is clinging to plans to cookie-cut the Foreshores precinct into a bland urban stencil of a coastal suburb saturated by development with limited green space.

City of Coffs Harbour has a bolder vision than that – one that would optimise the waterfront land.

“These parklands are an essential community meeting place for locals and visitors and the cost of selling them off to commercial hands will haunt us for generations,” Cr Amos said.

“Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Are we prepared to let an absentee, Sydney-based government dictate their version of our future? I’ve had over 11,000 residents elect me as their Mayor but the Minister is prepared to ignore these people and believes he knows it all because of selective responses to a clearly biased survey.”

The City offered to buy the State Government land at the Foreshores late last year for $6.7 million, offering on top of that two inner city blocks suitable for high-rise affordable housing.

But that was rejected by the State using technicalities not identified as necessary for the submission, so the City is now investigating a compulsory acquisition process for the land.

“The State is blinkered on this. I heard on the grapevine that Minister Kamper was in Coffs at the Fishing Club so I went down there to put the community’s side, but was ignored,” Cr Amos said.

“I’ve also had no cut-through in seeking to work with the NSW Government to see if there’s some common ground from where we might find a solution that is favourable to the community.”

/Public Release. View in full here.