“Short-sighted and tone-deaf”: Coffs MP Describes Council Obsession with Gordon Street Project

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Questions have been raised over the Regional City Action Plan 2036, after council say that the State Government removed mentions of the importance of art and culture in Coffs Harbour.

Back in late June, Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight raised concerns on Triple M about the change, saying that council wanted to know why?

“In the draft that we got in November last year, it had art and culture and creative industries, that was as important as anything else in the city, for example, sport”, Cr Knight told Triple M.

“We’ve now got the final copy, and it’s hardly mentioning art and culture, and creative industries.”

“It’s very disappointing when the council plan has got art, culture and creative industries in there quite heavily, and then it goes to the State Government and there’s virtually no mention of it at all, and we are wondering why?”

While accepting the majority of the plan, the lack of reference to the Cultural and Civic Space project, along with Arts and Culture from the State Government was described as a ‘glaring omission’.

In a statement on Friday morning from the State Member for Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh, he said, that feedback on the Draft Coffs Harbour Regional City Action Plan was sought from all interested stakeholders and citizens.

“Some of the feedback to my office has indicated that there should be a greater focus on arts and culture. I agree”, he wrote.

Mr Singh said that while arts and culture were certainly mentioned multiple times throughout the document, he agrees that it should have a separate sub-section similar to Sport.

“Council’s obsession with its Gordon St project is short-sighted and tone-deaf in the current economic climate. Arts and culture in Coffs Harbour is about far more than just a deeply unpopular and expensive building comprising more than 50% council administration”, Mr Singh said.

Following Mr Singh's statement, Coffs Harbour City Council responded with their own statement disputing figures used by the MP.

"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 of the Cultural and Civic Space is less than 30%."

To read the Draft Coffs Harbour Regional City Action Plan and provide your feedback by 31 July, please visit www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/coffsharbourrcap

24 July 2020

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