In an historic moment for the city of Coffs Harbour, Councillors have voted to move ahead with the construction of the Cultural and Civic Space in the CBD.
“This is absolutely the right decision for the future of our wonderful city and I’d like to thank the community, my fellow Councillors, the Advisory Group and the staff who’ve been working so hard on this project for their enthusiasm and support,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor Councillor Denise Knight.
“We’ve known all along that a project of this size takes guts, vision and determination to get done and it’s not a decision anyone takes lightly. But it’s been amazing to see how people have seen, understood and embraced the huge opportunities that this unique building will bring to Coffs Harbour. I’m so looking forward to seeing it take shape.”
The new building will include a Regional Gallery, Central Library, Regional Museum, multipurpose meeting rooms which can also be used as the Council Chamber for meetings, a co-working space, shop, café, the Family History Group, function space, the Council customer service area, Council offices and car parking.
It will create a vibrant cultural and civic precinct in the heart of Coffs Harbour and will be accessible, inclusive, attractive and welcoming to all.
The new Cultural and Civic Space will:
- provide access to cultural opportunities and facilities that are not currently available in Coffs Harbour;
- create a cultural precinct and cultural tourism opportunities;
- provide lifelong learning, educational opportunities and improved literacy;
- increase social wellbeing and connections;
- bring economic benefit to the region; and
- help develop a vibrant and active central business district and city centre.
An independent economic assessment has identified a host of benefits to the CBD including financial gains over a 30-year period totalling $57m and 31 on-going jobs. When in operation, it is projected to contribute $2m annually to the Gross Regional Product through support of local businesses.
The CCS Project Concept Business Case forecasts visitation of 412,000 people after five years.
The project is forecast to cost $76.5m to build. Funding is to be sourced through $10.5m from Council cost-savings reserves, an expected $20.54m from the sale of Rigby House, Council’s Customer Service Centre and Chamber in Castle Street, buildings in Rose Avenue and the current Museum.
Council will need to borrow approximately $46m but is in a strong financial position to service the loans. In addition, Council is strenuously pursuing grant funding from the State and Federal Governments, which would reduce the size of the required loans.
The next steps for the project are:
- Submission of the Development Application to the NSW Department of Planning & Environment, which is expected to take between six and nine months.
- Detailed design of the building.
- Further stakeholder engagement over the coming year.
- The sale of Council’s Rose Avenue buildings, Rigby House, current Council Customer Service Centre and Chamber in Castle Street and the Museum will begin.
- Construction is expected to start in 2020 for completion in 2022.
For more information, please visit the Cultural and Civic Space project page https://haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/