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Coffs Harbour Waterfront Redevelopment Sparks Generational Divide Over Future Vision

A proposed redevelopment in Coffs Harbour ignites debate, highlighting a clash between generations over the future of waterfront land.

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Emmanuel Abara Benson
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Coffs Harbour Waterfront Redevelopment Sparks Generational Divide Over Future Vision

Coffs Harbour Waterfront Redevelopment Sparks Generational Divide Over Future Vision

In Coffs Harbour, a proposed multimillion-dollar redevelopment of 62 hectares of waterfront land has ignited a heated debate among residents, revealing a stark generational divide.

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The state government's plan aims to transform the area into a vibrant tourism and residential hub, featuring up to 250 homes and 200 short-stay units, alongside an upgraded park with an adventure playground and boardwalk. However, the vision for regeneration clashes with the desires of many locals, particularly those over 55, who fear the loss of a cherished natural space.

Community Consultation and Controversy

After four years of community engagement, the draft masterplan has become a focal point of contention. While younger residents see the development as an opportunity to revitalize the city and prevent the exodus of the younger population, older community members view it as a threat to the city's character and natural beauty. Independent Mayor Paul Amos has been vocal in his opposition, proposing an alternative plan that prioritizes green space over high-density housing.

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Housing Shortage and Economic Considerations

Proponents of the redevelopment, including state Nationals member Gurmesh Singh, argue that Coffs Harbour faces a severe housing shortage and needs to enhance its appeal to retain and attract younger demographics. The proposed development is seen as a means to stimulate local tourism and the economy, capitalizing on Coffs Harbour's picturesque beaches. However, critics question the necessity of such extensive development, pointing to existing approved housing projects and the potential for alternative tourism strategies focused on eco-tourism.

The Path Forward

The clash over the waterfront redevelopment plan underscores broader issues facing Coffs Harbour, including demographic shifts, economic challenges, and the struggle to balance development with environmental preservation. As the community continues to debate the proposal, the outcome will likely have lasting implications for the city's identity, economy, and livability. With the council considering compulsory acquisition of the land to halt the state government's plan, the future of Coffs Harbour's waterfront remains uncertain.

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