JOBS, more housing, the bypass, a theme park and even an Ikea – these are just some of the things locals have told us Coffs Harbour needs.
The Advocate recently received an incredible response from the community after posing the question on our social media: what does Coffs Harbour need?
We’ve narrowed down the responses into a list featuring some of the most popular suggestions.
Vote in our poll at the bottom of the list and let us know – what do you think Coffs Harbour needs the most?
DEVELOPMENT AT THE JETTY FORESHORES
The most frequent suggestion among locals was the need to revitalise the jetty, through restaurants, bars, playgrounds and other infrastructure.
The State Government has committed an initial $20 million to redevelop the precinct, and are currently working with a Project Steering Advisory Committee to finalise the draft concept plan.
Here’s what some locals said:
“I would like to see the entire Jetty, restaurant strip and south wall areas finished. It has such potential to attract visitors and locals. Create a real attraction. Everything is half done, or badly done.” – Michelle Stewart
“More public facilities like cafes, playgrounds, picnic areas, from the jetty to south wall. Spread out the crowds from just the main jetty area.” – Debbie Petlueng
“Bars, clubs, coffee shops, and restaurants all along the jetty foreshore. That space is totally wasted at the moment.” – Shaun Woodhouse
MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Many of the responses stated Coffs Harbour lacks affordable housing as well as rentals.
The Coffs Coast has been experiencing an increasingly dire rental market, with Anglicare North Coast earlier this year stating there was a “desperate under supply” of affordable homes for rent in the region.
Here’s what some people said:
“Affordable housing for single people!” – Karlie Hackfath
“More housing! I don’t know how anything could be more important than the regular longtime locals who have always paid their rent and taken care of their homes becoming homeless.” – Melissa Alex
“More housing for the people in our community! STAT!” – Miranda Hickson-Vine
THE CULTURAL AND CIVIC SPACE
The divisive project received a number of mentions, with some saying the DA needed to be approved.
Early concept drawings of various spaces of the building have recently been released, including the children’s library area and the roof top level.
“DA approval for our community owned Cultural and Civic Space. Let’s get on with providing a new modern public building! Then onwards and upwards towards a Performance Space.” – Brigit McKenzie
“A Cultural and Civic Space … five decades of indecision is too long.” – Sarah Mufford
PERFORMING ARTS SPACE
One of the criticisms of the Cultural and Civic Space project is that it does not include a performing arts space.
Coffs Harbour City Council recently published a discussion paper which identified that a regional city like Coffs should have a theatre of approximately 600 to 1,000 capacity while also retaining the Jetty Memorial Theatre.
Here’s what some locals said:
“A centre for entertainment. Bands, ballet, arts, theatre. A place for speech nights for schools not attached to clubs. Something like the old ‘Civic Centre.'” – Amanda Lestelle
“A dedicated PUBLIC performance space.” – Violet Rose Ifans McDonald
AN AMUSEMENT PARK
Coffs Harbour is home to the Big Banana Fun Park, but there were many who said the city needed something more to offer – including a theme park or water park.
“A theme park big time. More jobs for the locals and also more tourism for Coffs Harbour so more money for the town.” – Christopher Johnson
“A coastal kiddie water park like the one in Southport in the Gold Coast.” – Pica Bryl-Dowel
Locals have long been calling for Ikea to come to Coffs Harbour. Earlier this year, The Advocate put the question to the Swedish furniture giant: will you come to Coffs Harbour? Here was their answer.
Locals including Jasmine Winter and Heather Hammond kept it simple when they suggested Coffs needs “an Ikea.”
MORE TOURISM ACCOMMODATION
Coffs is already home to a number of motels, but many locals said there needs to be more variety in the tourism accommodation sector.
“An actual nice resort or two in town instead of a bunch of old motels.” – Natalie Willis
“Jetty Foreshores accommodation! Permanent and tourism opportunities.” – Garry Innes
There’s no surprise this issue made the list. The $1.8 billion bypass project has been a long time coming, with the latest update from September being that early discussions had begun with the construction industry.
Local Wendy Eggins said Coffs needed the bypass “ASAP”.
BETTER CYCLING INFRASTRUCTURE
Coffs Harbour’s lack of cycling infrastructure was called out by one local, who said the city needed to provide safer conditions to encourage the uptake of cycling.
“Better cycling infrastructure! Should be able to ride from Woolgoolga to Urunga without dealing with traffic. This would allow people to choose this as a way of getting around instead of so many cars. Sawtell is ridiculous on the holidays! So many holiday makers. Imagine if more people parked the cars and rode their bikes around.” – Monique Anderson
Many locals said Coffs lacked employment opportunities, with some suggesting the city should attract more industry, and others that there should be incentives for new businesses to employ a certain number of locals.
“Jobs plain and simple.” – James Taylor
“Huge incentives for new businesses who open in Coffs Harbour and employ three locals or more. Hopefully will fill all the vacant shops on our main roads & create new jobs. – Jen Campbell
POLL: What does Coffs Harbour need the most?