It’s that time of year when we look back at the last 12 months and I’d say for Coffs Harbour as a city it’s been another fabulous year.
Sports-wise we’ve hosted some amazing events. The AFL Masters Games was here in September with around 850 players and a total spectator audience of more than 1,400.
Of course there was the Rally. Another very impressive event. I’d like to thank residents and the whole community for, once again, being such welcoming hosts.
But probably the biggest event we had this year was hosting the Tag World Cup for the first time. It was amazing. Everyone involved was bowled over by the welcome they had and the fantastic facilities at the stadium. There were 179 teams from 27 countries – as well as around 5,000 fans, supporters and officials. It’s estimated that the World Cup alone injected $4.5m into the local economy. When you add it to the other four annual Oztag events, this one sporting code brings around $20m to the Coffs Coast every year!
Talking of the Stadium – the upgrade works there are powering ahead. It’s going to be such a wonderful, regional and national drawcard to bring events to the Coffs Coast in coming years. It’s very, very exciting.
Jetty4Shores Stages 2-4 – there’s been so much amazing positive feedback from the community and visitors on the improvements. It’s a joy to go down there. Have you checked out the new shade sails, the artworks by local Aboriginal student artists and the signage that tell the Gumbaynggirr heritage and dreamtime stories?
The icing on the cake was winning the top NSW engineering award from the Australasian peak public works body, the IPWEA, for the quality of the works themselves.
We’ve also achieved great progress on the new Civic and Cultural Centre in the CBD. Design is underway – with the schematic design due for completion and the Development Application due to be prepared by around May 2019. The detailed design, which you will be consulted on, is expected to be ready by May 2020 with work beginning the following September.
The only real downer this year was the State Government’s out-of-the-blue change to cuttings instead of tunnels for its planned bypass of the city. Council is working hard on a campaign to do what we can to get them to reinstate the original plans. It’s not about looking to change the bypass corridor, which has been in place since 2004, we’re saying we want tunnels not ‘road bridges’.
I appreciate there are a lot of opinions on the bypass out there, but I’m sure we’d all agree that Coffs Harbour deserves the best we can get.
Don’t forget the Coffs Coast Carols at Brelsford Park is on today. It’s going to be fabulous – loads of music, entertainment, Santa, food. It’s going to be a great night. See you there!
But before I leave you for this year, can I ask you all to look out for anyone you know that might be on their own over Christmas. Please reach out to them as it can be sad and lonely time for many of the less fortunate.
Have a very safe and happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones.
Thank you for your support over the past 12 months. See you in 2019!