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?

  • International Best-Selling Author Recognises Importance of Libraries

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    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!

    Michael Robotham on the Importance of Libraries



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

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    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

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    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?

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    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

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    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

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    New Library and Gallery for Coffs HarbourOur 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!

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    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.

    Cultural and Civic Space for Coffs Harbour - Artists and Educators

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

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    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.



  • EOI for Vacancies - Library & Gallery Planning Advisory Group & Cultural Reference Group

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    Advisory Group Vacancies

    Council is seeking expressions of interest from community members to fill the following vacancies:

    · 1 x Library & Gallery Planning Advisory Group (LGPAG) member

    · 2 x Cultural Reference Group members

    The LGPAG is a key reference group for the development of a proposed Cultural and Civic Space (including library/gallery) in the CBD.

    The Cultural Reference Group provides advice relating to the implementation of Creative Coffs – Cultural Strategic Plan 2017-2022. See.http://www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/our-community/Pages/arts-and-culture.aspx

    Appointment is a selective process in order to achieve diverse community representation and not all applicants are ensured appointment. Council may also choose to directly invite people who can bring particular skills to the group. Individuals will not be appointed as representatives of any organisation but in their own right.

    For further information and nomination forms please go to http://www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/coffs-and-council/publicnotices/Pages/EOI-Advisory-Group-Vacancies.aspx

    Applications close 5pm Friday 24th November 2017

    For enquiries, please contact Siân Nivison on 6648 4081 or sian.nivison@chcc.nsw.gov.au.

  • Request for Quotation - Architectural Design Services for Concept Designs

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    REQUEST FOR QUOTATION NO: RFQ-898-QO – ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN SERVICES

    Quotations are invited to engage suitably qualified and experienced organisations to provide preliminary concept design services for the Cultural and Civic Space Project.

    A quotation package and further information can be downloaded at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/publicnotices

    Quotations must be submitted by email no later than 5pm on Friday 17th November 2017.

    Enquiries should be directed to Sian Nivison on Ph (02) 6648 4081 or email sian.nivison@chcc.nsw.gov.au.


Page last updated: 19 October 2021, 10:04