The Cultural & Civic Space - for the Heart of Coffs

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The Cultural and Civic Space will be a central hub for residents and visitors in Coffs Harbour. The development will house larger and improved cultural facilities including the library, gallery and museum.
This welcoming and multipurpose space will also include Council offices and chambers, as well as co-working and event spaces for community hire and use.
The Cultural and Civic Space will become the Heart of Coffs Harbour as our city centre continues to develop and improve, to meet the demands of our increasing population of residents and visitors.

PROJECT TIMELINE

In 2016 Council unanimously endorsed the Gordon Street site as the preferred location for the new library and gallery and resolved to undertake a detailed precinct analysis, consider the inclusion of the regional museum and to investigate mixed and civic uses for this site in order maximise the location.

In 2017 Council endorsed Creative Coffs – Cultural Strategic Plan and the Precinct Analysis to progress through to the concept design phase. At this stage, the Council offices were included in the scope.

Between December 2017 and March 2018, a comprehensive stakeholder and community engagement consultation and information campaign asked stakeholders for feedback on three separate concept designs.

At the June 2018 Council Meeting the report detailing the Concept Business Case and outcome of the community engagement on the three concept designs - to identify key features that people wanted incorporated in the new building - was endorsed to progress to the next stage; a single schematic design. At this point, the Regional Museum was also included in the project.

In early 2019, broad community engagement was undertaken on the preliminary schematic design created by BVN Architecture.

The outcomes of the consultation were incorporated into the final schematic design report which was presented to Council in July 2019.

The 25 July Council Meeting was adjourned until 8 August 2019.

At the 8 August Council Meeting the Councillors resolved to proceed with the Cultural and Civic Space Project by: 1. Allocating full project funding of $76.52 million, 2. Lodging a development application, 3. Disposing of the nominated properties 4. Procuring the build through a two stage design and construct contract.

At the 13 February Council Meeting, the Councillors approved the tenders for Project Manager, Head Design Consultant and Cost Manager. The demolition DA for 23-31 Gordon Street was also approved.

As a result of this decision, and the appointment of these key contracts, the detailed design phase of the Cultural and Civic Space project officially began.

Coming soon: 50% Design Development Report and result of the State Significant Development Application (SSDA)


The Cultural and Civic Space will be a central hub for residents and visitors in Coffs Harbour. The development will house larger and improved cultural facilities including the library, gallery and museum.
This welcoming and multipurpose space will also include Council offices and chambers, as well as co-working and event spaces for community hire and use.
The Cultural and Civic Space will become the Heart of Coffs Harbour as our city centre continues to develop and improve, to meet the demands of our increasing population of residents and visitors.

PROJECT TIMELINE

In 2016 Council unanimously endorsed the Gordon Street site as the preferred location for the new library and gallery and resolved to undertake a detailed precinct analysis, consider the inclusion of the regional museum and to investigate mixed and civic uses for this site in order maximise the location.

In 2017 Council endorsed Creative Coffs – Cultural Strategic Plan and the Precinct Analysis to progress through to the concept design phase. At this stage, the Council offices were included in the scope.

Between December 2017 and March 2018, a comprehensive stakeholder and community engagement consultation and information campaign asked stakeholders for feedback on three separate concept designs.

At the June 2018 Council Meeting the report detailing the Concept Business Case and outcome of the community engagement on the three concept designs - to identify key features that people wanted incorporated in the new building - was endorsed to progress to the next stage; a single schematic design. At this point, the Regional Museum was also included in the project.

In early 2019, broad community engagement was undertaken on the preliminary schematic design created by BVN Architecture.

The outcomes of the consultation were incorporated into the final schematic design report which was presented to Council in July 2019.

The 25 July Council Meeting was adjourned until 8 August 2019.

At the 8 August Council Meeting the Councillors resolved to proceed with the Cultural and Civic Space Project by: 1. Allocating full project funding of $76.52 million, 2. Lodging a development application, 3. Disposing of the nominated properties 4. Procuring the build through a two stage design and construct contract.

At the 13 February Council Meeting, the Councillors approved the tenders for Project Manager, Head Design Consultant and Cost Manager. The demolition DA for 23-31 Gordon Street was also approved.

As a result of this decision, and the appointment of these key contracts, the detailed design phase of the Cultural and Civic Space project officially began.

Coming soon: 50% Design Development Report and result of the State Significant Development Application (SSDA)


  • Take a look inside our new building!

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    23 September, 2020
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    The first illustrations of the Cultural and Civic Space have been released, giving us a glimpse inside the current design for the new building,

    The first images to be shown are of the children’s area in the library at ground floor level, and the internal street that flows through the building from one side to the other.

    The children’s area is vibrant and dynamic with a character of its own. There will be different reading nooks and spaces for Storytime to capture and inspire the imaginations of our little Coffs people and their families.

    The image of the internal street within the building is looking from Gordon Street through to Riding Lane. It shows the light-filled three-dimensional space with the library and other functions looking over into the central space, with a striking circular skylight. This urban passageway will provide free flowing access throughout the day and evening.

    For more information, see the media release on the Council newsroom website

  • Museums tell our stories and hold our histories

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    What is the role of a museum? The traditional role of museums is to collect objects and materials of cultural, religious and historical importance, preserve them, research them and present them to the public for the purpose of education and enjoyment.

    Whether they are national or local in focus, museums cherish the stories important to a community. Some of those stories are well known and some of them might be hidden and need to be brought to the surface. When a community knows its own stories - not just the whitewashed version but the warts and all kind, - we develop a deeper appreciation of our place and who we are as a result of our experiences as a community.

    A good museum tells engaging stories and narratives that capture our interest and imagination, taps into our emotions and prompt us to think more deeply and ask questions about the past, present and future of our region. For example, why do we have refugees in Coffs? How are we protecting our natural environment? What kind of innovations are going on in food production?

    How have museums changed? Banish the idea of fusty, dusty old museums which focus more on objects rather than stories. Museums are still institutions which collect and safeguard artefacts, but they now use multimedia technology such as touchscreens and touch tables, as well as film and audio to engage visitors in meaningful and interesting ways.

    Museums have become more hands on as well, with many providing opportunities for interactive activities. The new museum will host an interactive space where visitors of all ages can sign up for a workshop and learn valuable new skills such as how to look after their family photos and collections, how to handle historical objects and much more.

    What can we look forward to in our new museum? Our new museum will be contemporary, highly visual and will showcase many more of the fascinating items in the museum’s collections, including historical artefacts, photographs and multi-media resources. Visitors will be engaged, surprised and energised by what they experience.

    Our new museum will be a one-of-a-kind visitor experience, not only for Coffs Harbour locals, who will feel proud of our histories and stories on display, but for visitors to the area who will be drawn to the unique cultural destination as part of their stay on the beautiful Coffs Coast.

    Image by: and the trees photography

  • August newsletter

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    Hi all,

    August has flown by and it’s been another busy month for our design team with the look and feel of our new building taking shape. We’re busily plotting a fun way to give our community a sneak peek inside the walls so you can see where we are up to - stay tuned!

  • Council's Cultural Framework Planning Wins Top State Award

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    11 August, 2020
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    In an exciting end to Local Government Week 2020, Coffs Harbour City Council has won the top prize for Cultural Plans in the Local Government NSW Awards. It emphasises the importance of partnerships and networks and provides a bridge to 2023, when new spaces and possibilities will be realised as part of the Cultural and Civic Space project.

    The winning plan, ‘LMG Strategy 2020-2023’ provides a framework to:

    • inspire and support lifelong-learning, literacy, creativity and cultural expression;
    • to find, share, and create knowledge;
    • recognise, preserve, and share our diverse histories and stories; and
    • provide welcoming public spaces accessible to all.
  • July e-newsletter

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    30 July, 2020
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    Detailed design is progressing for the Cultural and Civic Space project, with council working groups and the design team functioning well together.

    During the month, Matthew Blair, BVN Principal Architect for the Cultural and Civic Space, paid a visit to Coffs Harbour. It’s surprising how much can be accomplished over video-conference, but some things are just better face to face.

    During his time here, Matthew met with Mayor Denise Knight, where they discussed the progress of the project and visited the site. He also made time to meet with a group of enthusiastic young people at Toormina library to get their feedback and ideas on the library youth space, one of three youth space meetings conducted during this month.

    Read on to hear what our young people imagine for their youth space, the provisions being made for disability access and questions from the community on our Have Your Say Page.

    The Project Office team.

  • Statement in response to Member for Coffs Harbour's Statement on the Draft Coffs Harbour Regional City Action Plan

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    24 July, 2020

    Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh MP has today claimed the Cultural and Civic Space project has more than 50% council administration, this is not true.

    To correct the record, it should be clearly noted the Council administration component for the Cultural and Civic Space is less than 30%.

    ENDS

  • Coffs Coast Youth Inspired by Cultural and Civic Space

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    20 July, 2020
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    Recently, members of the BVN Architecture team and Cofs Harbour City Council staff met with groups of local young people to get their feedback and ideas on the youth space being designed into the new central library within the Cultural and Civic Space building.

    The BVN team showed the students some digital sketches of the space and asked for their feedback on furniture and technology, as well as their ideas about how they would use the space if the building was ready for them to walk into that afternoon.

    Their ideas were positive, inspiring and sometimes surprising!

    To read more, go to the CHCC newsroom

  • Public libraries and young people

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    30 June, 2020
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    Question: Why do young people need a public library when our schools have libraries and they use the internet for research?

    Answer: One of the fundamental principles of public libraries is the notion of equity: that all people should have equal and equitable access to knowledge and information regardless of where you fit (or don’t fit) in society.

    Most new libraries include a specially designed youth space, because young people use libraries differently than other users. Youth spaces in libraries often feature different types of furniture, the latest in technology and gaming and easy access to the kinds of books which young adults love, like science fiction, fantasy, mystery and graphic novels.

    Public libraries provide spaces and programs as well as recreational, digital and technological tools and resources for young people. Importantly, these spaces also have places to study, access to PCs, free Wi-Fi and places to plug in a device. For many young people, a public library is not a not just a ‘nice thing to have’ but an essential service.

    In the new central library being designed for the Cultural and Civic Space, the young adult section is located alongside the new digital design studio and maker space. There is a combination of private study spaces and more communal public spaces to hang out, do homework, play games and chat.

    We are looking forward to working with teens in the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area to help create a space that fits their brief – after all, young people are the experts on their own needs.

  • June e-newsletter

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    30 June, 2020
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    We’ve had another busy month helping to design the new Cultural and Civic Space building. In architect’s terms, design is an ‘iterative’ process, which means the council working groups and the design team communicate back and forth, both internally and with each other, asking for more information, clarifying and refining the design until the building is 80% designed and construction can begin. The building is not quite at that point yet, but we are another month closer.

  • $500,000 PUBLIC LIBRARY GRANT

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    11 June, 2020
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    Marrickville library, designed by BVN. Photograph by Tony Roe

    Coffs Harbour City Council has welcomed the news that the Cultural and Civic Space is to receive a $500,000 NSW Public Library Infrastructure Grant (PLIG) towards the new central library.

    Administered through the State Library of NSW, the Public Library Infrastructure Grant program is for projects that assist NSW councils to improve public library infrastructure, including buildings and information technology systems.

    Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight said she was delighted that the need for improved library facilities for the local community has been recognised by the prestigious State Library of NSW.

    “At 986sq, the current central library (Harry Bailey Memorial Library) is about 40 per cent of the size required for a community the size of Coffs Harbour.

    “Which is exactly why we have worked so hard to get this project off the ground, to receive the full amount requested makes us very proud. The people of Coffs Harbour deserve a world class library and that’s what we will be delivering to them.

    “Developing the literacy and, by extension, the employment prospects of our future generations is paramount to our success as a regional city.”

    Read more here.