The Cultural & Civic Space - for the Heart of Coffs

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What is it? The Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space (CCS project) will combine arts, people, technology and culture to create a vibrant community hub designed to transform our library, museum and gallery into spaces more suited to the Coffs Harbour region's growing role as regional city and tourist destination.

The new building will bring council administration together in one building, including customer service, council chambers and administration offices. There will also be a cafe and bookable community meeting and working spaces.

Why do we need it? In the new building our library, museum and gallery will have 2.5 to

What is it? The Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space (CCS project) will combine arts, people, technology and culture to create a vibrant community hub designed to transform our library, museum and gallery into spaces more suited to the Coffs Harbour region's growing role as regional city and tourist destination.

The new building will bring council administration together in one building, including customer service, council chambers and administration offices. There will also be a cafe and bookable community meeting and working spaces.

Why do we need it? In the new building our library, museum and gallery will have 2.5 to 3 times the space they currently have, with shared spaces and the opportunity to collaborate. The current Harry Bailey Memorial Library is only 40% of the size recommended by the State Library. This means our community does not have access to enough computers, study spaces, meeting rooms, quiet spaces, resources and books.

Our new library will meet State Library guidelines, providing access to books, magazines, personal computers and free wi-fi, as well as a digital media studio, a maker space, a place for young adults to study, play and hang out, and meeting and study rooms for the general public.

The Cultural and Civic Space will also bring together the administration, customer service and decision-making functions of council into a single building to access the benefits of co-locating civic and cultural services.

What are the benefits?

Our new cultural facilities will be for people of all ages and backgrounds and will help to make sure there is equitable access to safe, inclusive public spaces as well as educational and technological resources for Coffs Harbour residents.

Better cultural facilities will attract national quality exhibitions, workshops and events to Coffs Harbour that our current facilities cannot support due to lack of space and facilities. This is exciting news for both the residents of Coffs Harbour and for the people who visit our beautiful city, providing more things to do, see and experience.

The new building will bring our city to life, with studies showing that well-designed cultural facilities such as libraries, museums and art galleries contribute to regional growth by increasing the attractiveness and liveability of an area, as well as supporting business investment in the surrounding areas. When cultural and civic facilities are placed together in a city's central location, they not only activate each other, they breathe life into the whole area.

The construction phase (2021-2023) is expected to generate around 555 direct and flow on jobs including 358 local jobs, injecting $33.3 million dollars into the local economy. When in operation, the new building is expected to generate around $1.8 million per year in increased tourism.

Where is it? The Cultural and Civic Space will be located right in the heart of Coffs Harbour, on Gordon Street, in easy reach of public transport and just minutes’ walk from CBD parking.

What’s happening with the project? Late last year, the development application for the CCS project was approved by the State Government, and the demolition of Gordon Street site was completed.

The project team has spent most of 2020 working on the detailed design for the building, elaborating and expanding the schematic design completed in 2019. Detailed design up until 80% has now been completed, with the final 20% to be completed during construction.

As part of this process, Lipman, the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) builder, who have been assisting the project team with buildability and pricing advice, have submitted their construction offer, which is currently being validated by key members of the project team. Council expects to consider Lipman’s offer in early 2021.

Why are we so excited? This project is an important piece of the puzzle for Coffs Harbour: a major regional infrastructure project at the right time and in the right place. The project represents a place for the community to come together, connecting our past, present and future in a way that supports the growth and progress of our beautiful city and surrounding areas.

Need more information?

  • Cultural and Civic Space e-newsletter November 4th 2019

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    Council offices and chambers and an endorsement from Archibald Prize winning artist

    This week’s project update includes a link to Mayor Denise Knight discussing the council office inclusion in the Cultural and Civic Space on Triple M radio in June 2018, as well the most frequently asked questions from Facebook and an endorsement from one of Australia’s most celebrated artists.


  • Cultural and Civic Space e-newsletter October 28th 2019

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    TOP FAQs from Facebook and NSW Minister for Local Government response to petition

    This week’s project update includes the last call for submissions on the development application on the NSW Government’s website, the most frequently asked questions from Facebook and the response from the Minister for Local Government on the tabled petition.


  • Cultural and Civic Space e-newsletter October 21st 2019

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    Cultural and Civic Space Update

    Thank you to all of those people within the Coffs Harbour community who have used the new Heart of Coffs website and Facebook page to learn more about the Cultural and Civic Space and participate in constructive discussion.


  • Cultural and Civic Space e-newsletter October 16th 2019

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    Welcome to the first edition of the Coffs Harbour Cultural and Civic Space project e-newsletter.

    This newsletter is designed to provide updates and information to the Coffs community on the Cultural and Civic Space. Each edition will also feature some common FAQs as well as a project update.


  • Cultural & Civic Space Project – Adjournment of Council Meeting 25th July

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    At 6.29 pm during the conduct of Council’s meeting on the 25th July, four of the eight Councillors present left the Council Chambers effectively leaving Council without a quorum. In accordance with clause 5.11 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice, the Mayor announced the lack of a quorum and adjourned the meeting for thirty minutes.

    At 6.59pm the Mayor reconvened the meeting and at that stage four Councillors were present in the Council Chambers. The Mayor in announcing the reconvening of the meeting then made an announcement to ascertain whether any other Councillors were in the vicinity of the Council Chambers and wished to re-join the meeting. No other Councillors responded.

    Given the continued lack of quorum for the meeting, the Mayor gave due regard to clause 5.12 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice which states:

    5.12 In either case, the meeting must be adjourned to a time, date and place fixed:

    (a) by the chairperson, or

    (b) in the chairperson’s absence, by the majority of the councillors present, or

    (c) failing that, by the general manager.

    Obviously, clause 5.12(a) of the Code of Meeting Practice provides for the Mayor to adjourn the meeting to a time, date and place of the Mayor’s choosing. The meeting was formally adjourned to 11.00am on the 26th July. At 11.00am only four Councillors were present in the Chambers, the meeting was adjourned for 30 minutes. This meant there was a continued lack of a quorum.

    In this regard, Council’s Ordinary Meeting which commenced at 5.00pm 25 July 2019 has now been formally adjourned to 5.00pm on the 8th August 2019 in the Coffs Harbour City Council Chambers at the corner of Coffs and Castle Streets, Coffs Harbour.

    At 6.29 pm during the conduct of Council’s meeting last night, four of the eight Councillors present left the Council Chambers effectively leaving Council without a quorum. In accordance with clause 5.11 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice, the Mayor announced the lack of a quorum and adjourned the meeting for thirty minutes.

    At 6.59pm the Mayor reconvened the meeting and at that stage four Councillors were present in the Council Chambers. The Mayor in announcing the reconvening of the meeting then made an announcement to ascertain whether any other Councillors were in the vicinity of the Council Chambers and wished to re-join the meeting. No other Councillors responded.

    Given the continued lack of quorum for the meeting, the Mayor gave due regard to clause 5.12 of Council’s Code of Meeting Practice which states:

    5.12 In either case, the meeting must be adjourned to a time, date and place fixed:

    (a) by the chairperson, or

    (b) in the chairperson’s absence, by the majority of the councillors present, or

    (c) failing that, by the general manager.

    Obviously, clause 5.12(a) of the Code of Meeting Practice provides for the Mayor to adjourn the meeting to a time, date and place of the Mayor’s choosing. The meeting was formally adjourned to 11.00am today. At 11.00am 26 July 2019, only four Councillors were present in the Chambers, the meeting was adjourned for 30 minutes. This meant there was a continued lack of a quorum.

    In this regard, Council’s Ordinary Meeting which commenced at 5.00pm 25 July 2019 has now been formally adjourned to 5.00pm on the 8th August 2019 in the Coffs Harbour City Council Chambers at the corner of Coffs and Castle Streets, Coffs Harbour.


  • CULTURAL AND CIVIC SPACE PROJECT - RESULTS OF COUNCIL MEETING 11th JULY

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    After considerable discussion on the item at the meeting, ultimately Council passed a Resolution that effectively adopted the recommendation in the Report before Council to progress the Project.

    Immediately following the meeting, a Rescission Motion signed by 3 Councillors was handed to me. The effect of a Rescission Motion is to place the adopted Resolution on hold pending Council’s consideration of the Rescission Motion. At this stage, it is expected that the Rescission Motion will be considered by Council at its meeting on 25 July 2019.

    For the moment, the Project is effectively on hold until the Rescission Motion is formally considered.




  • Misunderstandings over Cultural and Civic Space

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    The Coffs Coast Advocate requested a response from Council yesterday (9 July 2019) to comments it had obtained on the proposed Cultural and Civic Space by local businessman Steve Gooley and ex-politician Andrew Fraser. Council provided a response, but it was not used in the Advocate edition of 10 July 2019. It is reproduced below for community clarity.

    Council Response:

    Comments made today by a local businessman and a former politician contain a catalogue of misunderstandings and misconceptions over the funding and costs of the proposed Cultural and Civic Space.

    First of all, it should be pointed out that the development of the Concept Business Case was done in conjunction with an external project management company with public and civic buildings experience which provided expert project management guidance and input. In addition, two independent external quantity survey firms were involved in the cost estimations required.

    The Concept Business Case shows that the total project cost is estimated at $76.52m. This total cost will be offset by $20m in asset sales – the sales of Rigby House, the current Council Chamber building, the Museum and buildings in Rose Avenue. The $20m estimate is a figure provided by independent valuation.

    In addition, a further $10.5m from internal cost-saving reserves is to be used. This brings the net cost of any possible borrowings required to $46.02m.

    Fact 1: Council will not be servicing a debt of $75m, as stated by businessman Steve Gooley.

    We are actively pursuing Federal and State grants to further cut the $46m borrowings. It’s correct that Council does not have grants at the moment, but we will continue to apply.

    Even if the final loan is $46.02m, we are currently able to borrow loans at a 2.6% PA fixed rate for 20 years from the NSW Government’s Treasury Corporation (T-Corp). We are able to access these rates from T-Corp because the NSW Government has declared us a financially sustainable council under its Fit for the Future criteria.

    Fact 2: The proposed borrowing costs of a debt of $46.02m would be $1.9m pa.

    Council’s total borrowings would remain well within the Debt Service Ratio target set by the NSW Government

    Fact 3: The proposed borrowings leave plenty of capacity to provide the means to undertake other projects that the community requires.

    Businessman Steve Gooley also misunderstands that the building is not a simple office building with identical floors such as Gateway House. The building will be predominantly cultural – and that requires a very different building approach which explains the cost per square metre to build. As the Concept Design shows, the building will have different floor sizes, heights and layouts to accommodate the required spaces that a cultural building needs.

    Fact 4: You cannot compare a simple office building built over 10 years ago to a cultural facility built in today’s market. Mr Gooley’s estimates of cost per square metre are incorrect.

    Mr Gooley said: “I think they’ve overstated the council buildings valuations by well over 200-300 percent”.

    Fact 5: The valuations were provided by independent expert valuation, not Council.

    A former politician has also made incorrect statements regarding the proposal. Andrew Fraser has said: “From what I can see their back up plan is to sell the airport to cover the cost of it and the airport is bringing in quite a reasonable return on investment at the moment.”

    Fact 6: Council is not proposing to sell the airport. The proposed airport lease, should Council proceed, has nothing to do with the Cultural and Civic Space project.

    Mr Fraser goes on to suggest that the gallery should be on City Hill, a site that is remote from the CBD and public transport links.

    However, as has been explained to Mr Fraser on numerous occasions, current best practice in urban planning states that having a cultural precinct in the heart of a city centre provides the vibrancy, cultural and economic benefits to areas that can otherwise be lifeless outside business hours. It also means that public transport links are close by.

    He also claims that Council can “add a couple of new storeys to the current council chambers”.

    Fact 7: This is not possible. The building can only accommodate one additional storey and the business case for this option did not stack up.


  • Council Agenda and Papers released for July 11 Meeting

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    Council will consider further information, reports, options and recommendations for the progression of the Cultural and Civic Space project at the Council meeting next Thursday 11th July.

    The Agenda and Papers for the meeting are now publicly available here.

    The council meeting starts at 5 pm at the Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.


  • Cultural & Civic Space Project Update – June 2019

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    This exciting project is being designed to combine arts, community and culture to create a lively community and civic hub for a vibrant and active City Centre.

    Thank you for your feedback

    The 10th May 2019 saw the launch of the public display of the draft Schematic Design drawings and principles for the Cultural and Civic Space. We had displays available for public viewing at 5 permanent sites and also had pop up displays at Coffs Central, Toormina & Moonee Shopping Centres. Many people came to have a chat, ask questions and provide feedback.

    In the months prior to the launch, Council and BVN Architecture have been working with Focus groups and individuals to gain an understanding the differing wants and needs for the building. During this period we held over 30 meetings.

    Channels for public feedback were available from the 10 – 31st May and we thank everyone for providing valuable feedback, thoughts and suggestions. These have been combined together in a report that will go to the Council and will be available for public viewing.

    Council to consider report 11th July 2019

    Council will consider further information, reports, options and recommendations for the progression of the project at the Council meeting on Thursday 11th July. The council meeting starts at 5pm at the Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend.

    If you have any queries about the project please contact us via this page.


  • Invitation – Coffs Harbour Chamber Breakfast June 26th

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    Cultural & Civic Space Design Presentation by BVN Architects at June meeting

    Coffs Harbour City Council recently released a preliminary Schematic Design for the proposed Cultural and Civic Space for the Coffs Harbour region.

    This unique building design provides more space for our central library, regional gallery and museum, and centralised council facilities to bring life, vibrancy and economic benefits to the Heart of the City.

    The Chamber is pleased to confirm Matthew Blair of international architectural firm, BVN to present on this new exciting vision for Coffs Harbour.

    This is a unique opportunity to enjoy an architect design presentation featuring our proposed new gallery, the design principles and building elements and to understand more about the project. We look forward to seeing you there – Don’t Miss it!

    Details:

    Time: 7am - 9am, June 26th

    Venue: Coffs Harbour Golf Club

    Tickets: (Member) $35 Visitors $45


    Book your Spot today, all are welcome!

    https://coffschamber.com.au/event/invitation-chamber-breakfast




Page last updated: 15 September 2021, 11:28