A new Cultural & Civic Space for the heart of Coffs Harbour

Cultural & Civic Space project set to progress!

Council at the 14th June 2018 meeting endorsed the project to progress to the next stage of schematic design.

The Mayor noted: "This is a great day for the Coffs Harbour community’s cultural life and aspirations, lifelong learning opportunities, inclusivity and overall health and wellbeing.

Fundamentally, it’s all about our economic and cultural future, as well as our growth as a major regional hub. The Cultural and Civic Space for the Heart of the City will transform the CBD into a vibrant, busy destination that draws in locals and visitors alike.

Having a cultural precinct in the heart of a city centre is vital.

A cultural precinct in the heart of the city centre will bring life, vibrancy, cultural and economic benefits to areas that can otherwise be lifeless outside business hours – and it brings the cultural community into the heart of the city too.

Having a facility that incorporates a modern library and gallery, a youth area and digital media studio, exhibition space, parking, workshops and makers studios, public art, a café, small events space and technology resources, means people of all ages and backgrounds have a reason to visit.

We want to give Coffs Harbour a new cultural heart that is inclusive, attractive and welcoming to all."

Read Council’s media release here to find out more about the next stages of the project.


Cultural & Civic Space project set to progress!

Council at the 14th June 2018 meeting endorsed the project to progress to the next stage of schematic design.

The Mayor noted: "This is a great day for the Coffs Harbour community’s cultural life and aspirations, lifelong learning opportunities, inclusivity and overall health and wellbeing.

Fundamentally, it’s all about our economic and cultural future, as well as our growth as a major regional hub. The Cultural and Civic Space for the Heart of the City will transform the CBD into a vibrant, busy destination that draws in locals and visitors alike.

Having a cultural precinct in the heart of a city centre is vital.

A cultural precinct in the heart of the city centre will bring life, vibrancy, cultural and economic benefits to areas that can otherwise be lifeless outside business hours – and it brings the cultural community into the heart of the city too.

Having a facility that incorporates a modern library and gallery, a youth area and digital media studio, exhibition space, parking, workshops and makers studios, public art, a café, small events space and technology resources, means people of all ages and backgrounds have a reason to visit.

We want to give Coffs Harbour a new cultural heart that is inclusive, attractive and welcoming to all."

Read Council’s media release here to find out more about the next stages of the project.


  • Project update October 2018

    23 days ago

    It has been a very productive month since the 13 September Council resolution regarding the way the project approaches the market for consulting services and construction of the building (i.e. method of procurement) and funding to parallel process Schematic Design and the preparation of the Development Application. These changes have expedited the project in line with Council’s resolution on 14 June in a way that:

    • Does not increase the overall project budget
    • Protects the delivery of outcomes for Council and the community
    • Offers a prudent approach to execution of the project
    • Is in accordance with the procurement requirements of NSW...

    It has been a very productive month since the 13 September Council resolution regarding the way the project approaches the market for consulting services and construction of the building (i.e. method of procurement) and funding to parallel process Schematic Design and the preparation of the Development Application. These changes have expedited the project in line with Council’s resolution on 14 June in a way that:

    • Does not increase the overall project budget
    • Protects the delivery of outcomes for Council and the community
    • Offers a prudent approach to execution of the project
    • Is in accordance with the procurement requirements of NSW Local Government

    Two grant proposals were submitted to NSW Government in September. One is a $9m application to Regional Cultural Fund Round 2, the other is an expression of interest to Regional Growth, Environment & Tourism Fund Round 2 for $5m.

    A request for tender has been issued and evaluated to procure the services of an external project manager for the rest of this financial year.

    In the coming weeks the project will go to market for the services of an architect, town planner and other design and planning specialists. This will enable design and development application work through into 2019 when the design will emerge so we can all start to see what the space will be like.


  • Council meeting 13 Sep to consider resources to expedite the project

    2 months ago

    On 14 June 2018, Council resolved to progress the Cultural and Civic Space project to the next design phase (i.e. Schematic Design). The resolution also states that “In progressing the Cultural and Civic Space project, ensure that resources available to the project are applied in the most efficient manner to ensure the project is expedited”.

    A report to Council scheduled for Thursday September 13th recommends a method of procurement and management of contracts to efficiently apply resources to expedite delivery of the Cultural and Civic Space project and the funding stream required to implement that recommendation. The meeting is...

    On 14 June 2018, Council resolved to progress the Cultural and Civic Space project to the next design phase (i.e. Schematic Design). The resolution also states that “In progressing the Cultural and Civic Space project, ensure that resources available to the project are applied in the most efficient manner to ensure the project is expedited”.

    A report to Council scheduled for Thursday September 13th recommends a method of procurement and management of contracts to efficiently apply resources to expedite delivery of the Cultural and Civic Space project and the funding stream required to implement that recommendation. The meeting is open to the public and you are welcome to attend.

    Please click here for the agenda and papers.
  • International Best-Selling Author Recognises Importance of Libraries

    5 months ago
    Snapshot 6

    International best-selling author Michael Robotham chatted with the Coffs Harbour Libraries team on his last visit to Coffs, where he lived in his teenage years. With the exciting news that Councillors have voted to move forward with the project for a new library as part of a cultural & civic space for Coffs Harbour, we share here a short video interview about Michael's appreciation of the importance of libraries. Thanks Michael!



    International best-selling author Michael Robotham chatted with the Coffs Harbour Libraries team on his last visit to Coffs, where he lived in his teenage years. With the exciting news that Councillors have voted to move forward with the project for a new library as part of a cultural & civic space for Coffs Harbour, we share here a short video interview about Michael's appreciation of the importance of libraries. Thanks Michael!



  • A new Cultural & Civic Space for the heart of the CBD

    5 months ago
    Image campaign monitor6

    Cultural & Civic Space Project Update

    Community feedback and Council meeting

    Earlier this year an extensive community consultation took place on the Cultural & Civic Space Project. This resulted in over 1400 elements of feedback that were captured and analysed from 23 focus groups and meetings, various surveys and written feedback.

    The Cultural & Civic Space Community Consultation report informs of the key findings and feedback on each concept design of the project and can be downloaded here.

    Council to consider report at 14th June 2018 Council Meeting

    Council will consider further information, options and recommendations for the next stage...

    Cultural & Civic Space Project Update

    Community feedback and Council meeting

    Earlier this year an extensive community consultation took place on the Cultural & Civic Space Project. This resulted in over 1400 elements of feedback that were captured and analysed from 23 focus groups and meetings, various surveys and written feedback.

    The Cultural & Civic Space Community Consultation report informs of the key findings and feedback on each concept design of the project and can be downloaded here.

    Council to consider report at 14th June 2018 Council Meeting

    Council will consider further information, options and recommendations for the next stage of the project at the Council meeting on Thursday 14th June.

    The Cultural and Civic Space report and supporting documents are available online and can be viewed by downloading the Council Agenda via the link below.

    The Council meeting starts at 5pm at the Council Chambers.

    The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. The Council Meeting agenda and Concept Business Case can be viewed here.

    If you have any queries about the report or feedback please contact us via the 'Who's Listening' section on this page.


  • Thank You from Mayor, Cr Denise Knight

    5 months ago
    Cultural and civic space logo

    Thank you to all of you who took part in the recent survey to give feedback on the concept design ideas for a new Cultural and Civic Space in the heart of Coffs Harbour. In her regular column in The Coffs Coast Advocate, Cr Denise Knight, Mayor said;

    "It was great to see that so many people took the time to have their say on the three concept designs for the proposed Cultural and Civic Space project.

    "This proposed project is an important catalyst within the Coffs Harbour City Centre Masterplan 2031 and will establish a core cultural and civic...

    Thank you to all of you who took part in the recent survey to give feedback on the concept design ideas for a new Cultural and Civic Space in the heart of Coffs Harbour. In her regular column in The Coffs Coast Advocate, Cr Denise Knight, Mayor said;

    "It was great to see that so many people took the time to have their say on the three concept designs for the proposed Cultural and Civic Space project.

    "This proposed project is an important catalyst within the Coffs Harbour City Centre Masterplan 2031 and will establish a core cultural and civic precinct for the social and economic benefit of our community.

    "Hundreds filled in surveys, took part in focus groups and gave us great ideas, suggestions and explored important issues. Council will now review your feedback. We will carefully consider the various options and recommendations before moving forward.

    "Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey towards creating a strong, vibrant, healthy and sustainable regional city".

    Read the full column online.

    Subscribe for project updates to keep up to date with the progress of this project.


  • Ask me why. Why are we doing this?

    8 months ago
    Rigby house
    by Mayor Denise Knight

    IT'S NO secret that I am passionate about what a new library, gallery and civic space will mean for the future of our city.

    This project is part of a bigger picture for our area. We are a growing Regional City and we need to plan for the future. 

    Around 40% of our community are library members, so clearly libraries are important to us. Our library has no dedicated space for our HSC students to study and is only 40% of the size recommended by the State Library of NSW. Allowing our community access to...

    by Mayor Denise Knight

    IT'S NO secret that I am passionate about what a new library, gallery and civic space will mean for the future of our city.

    This project is part of a bigger picture for our area. We are a growing Regional City and we need to plan for the future. 

    Around 40% of our community are library members, so clearly libraries are important to us. Our library has no dedicated space for our HSC students to study and is only 40% of the size recommended by the State Library of NSW. Allowing our community access to new technology, new ways of learning, and new ways of working is essential, these are the things that will grow our city.

    Creative industries are a key driver of economic success. The Bendigo Art Gallery for instance generates $20 million dollars annually from the visitor economy, similarly MAMA (Murray Arts Museum Albury) opened in 2016 and surpassed $9.66m in its first year of operation. We can achieve similar success here.
    Why have we included the Council?

    Council staff are part of our community they are your friends, neighbours and family, they volunteer at your child's soccer club, they are part of the SES and the Rural Fire Service. Co-locating these facilities will make Council staff more accessible to the community and we will be able to deliver services more efficiently.

    The concept designs do not include a new council chamber, but do propose a multi-purpose space that can be used by the whole community for events, talks, celebrations and Council meetings.
    Where we are in the process?

    We are now at the conversation and feasibility study stage and fully expect to revaluate once the business case is developed and presented to Council for consideration.
    We want to hear what you like and don't like about the three concept designs and if you feel the project will help us achieve our vision for the future of our City. 
    Getting the design right is important as we want to create a vibrant and welcoming community hub that says "come on in".

    How will we make a decision?
    There will be a number of pauses during the project so that we can evaluate the cost versus benefits as well as available budgets and funding arrangements. The proposal to combine our facilities allows us to look at selling existing assets such as Rigby House and our Customer Service Centre to help pay for the proposed new building. When we receive the full information and business case we will evaluate and assess our options.

    It is an exciting project come with me on this journey, have your say, register at https://haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/cultural-and-civic-space to have your say and receive regular project updates.

    Click here to read the full release.
  • Community Invited to Help Create City’s Heart

    9 months ago
    200x150 in the media ehq news feed template
    Coffs Harbour’s community is being asked to help shape the proposed new central library, gallery and civic space for the CBD.

    “The primary focus for the new building is that it should be inclusive – so what better way to underline that goal than in getting the community’s involvement in deciding how it looks and operates,” said Acting Mayor Councillor George Cecato. “We want locals to tell us what they like the most and like the least about three very different concept designs – or put forward their own ideas. We can then distil those choices into a brief for...

    Coffs Harbour’s community is being asked to help shape the proposed new central library, gallery and civic space for the CBD.

    “The primary focus for the new building is that it should be inclusive – so what better way to underline that goal than in getting the community’s involvement in deciding how it looks and operates,” said Acting Mayor Councillor George Cecato. “We want locals to tell us what they like the most and like the least about three very different concept designs – or put forward their own ideas. We can then distil those choices into a brief for a new, detailed design. That detailed design will then be put out for further community input.”

    Videos, images and other information concerning the design process will be available via Council’s haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/cultural-and-civic-space portal from Monday, March 5. The community has from Monday, March 5, until Sunday, March 25, to provide feedback on the concepts.
    The new building, which is to be built on the site of 23-31 Gordon Street, is proposed to incorporate:
    • A new state-of-the-art central library and regional gallery.
    • A multi-purpose civic and meeting space.
    • A café and co-working space.
    • Council customer service area and office space.
    “The new ‘Cultural and Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’ is a major focus for our overall strategy to transform the CBD into a vibrant, busy destination that draws in locals and visitors alike,” added Cr Cecato. “As a local businessman, and a member of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, I know how vital it is to the overall local economy to have a viable and dynamic CBD.

    “Having an attractive facility that incorporates a modern library and gallery, a youth area and digital media studio, exhibition space, workshops and makers studios, public art, a café, small events space and technology resources, means people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities have a reason to visit.

    “We want a new cultural heart for our city that is inclusive, appealing and welcoming to all.”
    The community feedback and financial feasibility will be considered by Council at the end of this exhibition period so that the project can proceed to detailed design.

    Click here to read the full release.
  • Library Lovers Share Their Excitement

    9 months ago
    Parsons family cropped

    Our current library in Coffs Harbour is only 40% of the size it should be for our growing population. A new central library will be bigger, better and brighter with meeting, study and youth spaces and modern technology for the whole community.

    This is exciting news for everyone.

    Make sure you register on this site to keep up to date with the planning of the new ‘Cultural & Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’.

    Don’t miss out on your opportunity to give feedback on the architectural concepts for the new facility when they become available soon.


    Our current library in Coffs Harbour is only 40% of the size it should be for our growing population. A new central library will be bigger, better and brighter with meeting, study and youth spaces and modern technology for the whole community.

    This is exciting news for everyone.

    Make sure you register on this site to keep up to date with the planning of the new ‘Cultural & Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’.

    Don’t miss out on your opportunity to give feedback on the architectural concepts for the new facility when they become available soon.


  • Local Artists and Educators are Getting Excited!

    10 months ago
    Artists cropped

    Our community is getting excited about a new central Library, Art Gallery and Civic Space for Coffs Harbour. Here's what what some of our local artists and educators have to say.

    Make sure you register on this site to keep up to date with the planning of the new ‘Cultural & Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’.

    Don’t miss out on your opportunity to give feedback on the architectural concepts for the new facility when they become available soon.

    Our community is getting excited about a new central Library, Art Gallery and Civic Space for Coffs Harbour. Here's what what some of our local artists and educators have to say.

    Make sure you register on this site to keep up to date with the planning of the new ‘Cultural & Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’.

    Don’t miss out on your opportunity to give feedback on the architectural concepts for the new facility when they become available soon.

  • What's Coming - Our Community Is Getting Excited!

    11 months ago
    Flyer cover

    Our community is getting excited about a new central Library, Art Gallery and Civic Space for Coffs Harbour. Have a look at what some people have to say about the proposed new facility.

    Keep an eye out for these flyers around town in the new year.

    Make sure you register on this site to keep up to date with the planning of the new ‘Cultural & Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’.

    Don’t miss out on your opportunity to view concept designs when they become available in 2018.



    Our community is getting excited about a new central Library, Art Gallery and Civic Space for Coffs Harbour. Have a look at what some people have to say about the proposed new facility.

    Keep an eye out for these flyers around town in the new year.

    Make sure you register on this site to keep up to date with the planning of the new ‘Cultural & Civic Space – For the Heart of the City’.

    Don’t miss out on your opportunity to view concept designs when they become available in 2018.