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.

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  • Cultural and Civic Space – For the Heart of the City

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    Plans to bring the new CBD cultural and civic space to life are moving forward quickly so Council has launched an online portal to keep the community informed and up-to-date on progress.

    “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,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight.

    “We want to see Coffs Harbour’s city centre rival the best that the metropolitan cities can offer.”
    In June 2016, and then in May this year, Council endorsed the project to develop the old Salvation Army building in Gordon Street into a new Library and Gallery, with the addition of Council Chamber, office accommodation and Customer Service Centre. This followed a thorough investigation of 11 possible locations within the City Centre Masterplan area.

    “Some people have asked why the new facility has to be in the city centre,” said Cr Knight. “First of all, current best practice in urban planning says that having a cultural precinct in the heart of a city centre is vital. They 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.

    “A city centre location is also important because it offers convenience – you can shop, use services, eat, exercise and enjoy a cultural experience – all in one visit. Plus the new building will be just two minutes’ walk from City Square, parking and public transport.

    “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. It will also incorporate the most up-to-date ways of providing access for people with limited mobility.
    “We want a new cultural heart that is inclusive, attractive and welcoming to all.”

    Click here to read the full release.

  • I'm Passionate and Proud of it

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    by Mayor Denise Knight

    I WROTE about the progress on the "Cultural and Civic Space - For the Heart of the City" in my last column but I hope you'll forgive me for coming back to it again.

    My excuse is I am so passionate about what a new library, gallery and civic space will mean for the cultural and overall lifestyle of the city that I must spread the message.

    In June 2016 and then in May this year we, as a council, endorsed the project to develop the old Salvation Army building in Gordon St into a new library and gallery, with the addition of council chambers, office accommodation and a customer service centre.
    This followed a thorough investigation of 11 possible locations within the City Centre Masterplan area.
    There were a number of reasons why we concentrated on the CBD.
    First is that best practice in urban planning says having a cultural precinct in the heart of a city centre is vital.

    They bring life, vibrancy, cultural and economic benefits to areas that can otherwise be quite dead outside business hours - and it brings the cultural community into the heart of the city too.
    Another reason was a cultural facility to draw people into the CBD is a vital part of the City Centre Masterplan and is crucial in achieving that plan's goal of activating the city centre as a community and visitor destination.

    Being inclusive
    In addition, having a facility - which incorporates a modern library and gallery, a youth area and digital media studio, exhibition space, workshops and makers' studios, public art, parking, a café, small events space and technology resources - means people of all ages and backgrounds have a reason to visit.
    It will also incorporate best practice access and facilities for people with limited mobility and older people.

    A city centre location is important because it offers convenience - you can shop, use services, eat, exercise and enjoy a cultural experience all in one visit.
    It's about being inclusive and welcoming to all members of the community and region.
    That's a view shared by many people in the community.

    We know this because it was the message from the community and our advisory committees following the extensive consultation we undertook on these facilities.
    As with so many aspects of life, we can achieve great things by working together.

    If we pull in different directions, we might miss out on wonderful opportunities.
    Can you see the opportunity? I can.

    by Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight

    Click here to read the full release.

  • Cultural and Civic Space update

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    A LOT has been happening behind the scenes as we progress the plan to develop a 'Cultural and Civic Space - For the Heart of the City' in the CBD'.

    This month will see the appointment of a Project Manager to flesh out the initial concepts and begin the hard work on the key feasibility studies and financial estimates.

    This project is a vital part of the City Centre Masterplan 2031 and is a key part in achieving that plan's goal of activating the city centre into a vibrant community hub.

    It was first back in June 2016 and then in May this year that we, as a Council, endorsed the project to develop the old Salvation Army building in Gordon Street into a new Library, Gallery, Council Chamber, office accommodation and Customer Service Centre. This followed a thorough investigation of 11 other possible locations within the City Centre Masterplan area.

    It's an exciting time for the city centre and an exciting time for the whole Coffs Harbour area.

    Click here to read the full release.

  • We are inspired by other regional city's cultural precinct achievements

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    There is a strong focus amongst regional cities, both in Australia and overseas, to improve their cultural buildings and spaces. Some cities have embraced contemporary planning best practice with their building development, including modern, multi-use facilities and creating attractive people friendly spaces for their communities to interact and thrive in. Here are some inspiring examples.

    Albury MAMA (Murray Art Museum Albury)

    Albury MAMA Website

    Designed by NBRS and Partners

    Read about the success of MAMA at the NBRS and Partners blog and the design of MAMA on their website.

    Sir Earle Page Library Grafton

    Grafton Library Website

    Designed by Thomson Adsett

    Read more about the success of Earl Page Library and the building design.

    Lismore Regional Gallery

    Lismore Gallery Website

    Architects: Dominic Finlay Jones

    Read more about Lismore Regional Gallery Project on the Dominic Finlay Jones website.
Page last updated: 19 October 2021, 10:04