Cap on building heights a 'missed opportunity'?
THE proposed plans for major development at Coffs Harbour's Jetty Foreshore released by the State Government last week has certainly got the community talking.
It's a general consensus among Advocate readers there's plenty of potential in what could be argued is currently wasted space at the Jetty Foreshore, but with that comes the big questions - what do we want to see developed and to what scale?
The concept plans propose development to take place north of Marina Dr, along the train line west of Jordan Esplanade, around the Fisherman's Co-op and at the former Deep Sea Fishing Club site.
In a compromise to local residents whose views would otherwise be obstructed, the preliminary plans have also seen the building heights capped at five storeys.
Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce President Martin Wells said board members hold concerns that this could however prove a missed opportunity for the town to prosper.
He said the Chamber had envisioned the development of a taller building to house a "big name" hotel.
"From our perspective it's exciting the opportunity does exist now to enhance that area, and it's such a beautiful location to showcase what Coffs has to offer. We want to get it right but we don't want to get stuck in that circular narrative," Mr Wells said.
"Our initial thoughts with the plans are that with the somewhat conservative approach in some areas around the marina and northern precinct, we feel there's potentially lost opportunities with tourism and to fulfil some shortfall in accommodation.
"We think there is potential to have those higher limits in less sensitive areas and without obstructing views... allowing big name international-style hotel accommodation. We're just not going to see that with a five-storey limitation.
"It's good, though, that we've identified that the area does need to be enhanced as part of our journey towards being a large regional city. But our perspective is that if we don't get something happening now it might be the last opportunity for this generation to get State Government and all the departments on the same page."
"Decisions will hopefully be made for the greater good of the city and future generations."
The preliminary concept plans by local engineering company GHD were derived from an extensive community consultation process including 1,600 submissions from the public.
Apart from building heights, results from the consultation process shows another concern that was particularly consistent: parking and congestion.
Step five of the consultation process showed over 80% of respondents felt parking and traffic congestion was an issue at the Jetty Foreshore, particularly during events.
Some Advocate readers have suggested moving Jordan Esplanade westwards towards the railway line to create additional recreational and parking space, however this area has been earmarked for development.
During the consultation process respondents also placed importance on the need for commercial development including cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as recreational facilities.
"I'd love to see it developed much like Noosa with gorgeous boutiques and cafes on ground level and accommodation on the upper levels," wrote Facebook user Kla Mac.
During the launch of the concept plans, Andrew Fraser MP said he hoped himself to see development of restaurants and shops along the new break wall.
"Make it a boulevard, make it something families can use and enjoy," he said.
While the plans have now been sent out to the marketplace, Mr Fraser has assured the public there is still more community consultation to come.
He said he expects development to begin in around 12 months.
What do you think about the development plans? Send in your thoughts to Jasmine.Minhas@coffscoastadvocate.com.au