At the June 2018 Council Meeting the report detailing the Concept Business Case and outcome of the community engagement on the three concept designs - to identify key features that people wanted incorporated in the new building - was endorsed to progress to the next stage; a single schematic design. At this point, the Regional Museum was also included in the project.
In early 2019, broad community engagement was undertaken on the preliminary schematic design created by BVN Architecture.
This was a significant community engagement project which included full page media advertisements, posters, community newsletter articles, community events, stalls, gallery events, digital screens extensive media coverage across TV, print and radio detailing how the community could get involved.
The outcomes of the consultation were incorporated into the final schematic design report which was presented to Council in July 2019.
At the 8 August Council Meeting the Councillors resolved to proceed with the Cultural and Civic Space Project.
Since March 2018
Master Plan 2031
The Coffs Harbour City Centre Masterplan builds on the work of four related documents: Our Living City Settlement Strategy, City Centre Vision, Working Group Vision and draft LEP / DCP 2012.
The Masterplan was developed to grow and reinvigorate the heart of Coffs Harbour.
The Masterplan outlines contains goals and actions designed to help nurture the economic growth of the City Centre to foster economic growth and to meet the demographic needs of Coffs Harbour, which is characterised by a high population growth rate and an ageing population.
Coffs Harbour residents deserve cultural and civic facilities that are fit for purpose and underline our status as a key regional and growing city.
With a focus on digital literacy, the new library will cater to students of all ages. The art gallery and museum will mean our local history, heritage and creativity can be showcased in the one location allowing locals and visitors to emerge themselves in our proud history and vibrant artistic community.
The space will feature indoor and outdoor events areas and a co-working hub. It will also feature multipurpose rooms - including one that can be used as a council chamber - and a commercial kitchen that will be available for hire.
Our city’s cultural and administrative facilities need to be accessible to all residents and visitors. In 2016, eleven sites were assessed for their suitability in the City Centre Masterplan area. An analysis of the top three ranked sites was undertaken via selection criteria, site visits and advice from professional planning staff. The current site - 23-31 Gordon Street - was chosen as the preferred location.
Best planning practice in cities across the world is clear that cultural and civic facilities need to be accessible to all residents and visitors. Gordon street is the most practical and logical location for the Cultural and Civic Space project and was chosen on the basis of sound planning principles.
The funds to pay for the new building are coming from: the sale of four Council assets (Rigby House, the Castle Street Customer Service Centre, buildings at Rose Avenue commercial offices and the current Coffs Harbour Regional Museum) expected to provide around $20 million towards the overall project cost. In addition, there will be $10.5 million from internal savings, potential grant funding for the Museum, Gallery or Library portions of the building and the balance will come from borrowings.
The borrowings will be “business as usual” loans spread over the life of the building. Budget planning to date shows that no special rate variations are needed to fund the building based on current cost estimates and Council decisions.