Progress and prosperity

"With the City's population doubling in the past 15 years, careful planning is essential," said Mayor John Smith. "Council has taken a very professional approach to forward planning, being the first Local Government area in this State to have an ecologically sustainable approved long term Urban Development Strategy in place."

Council's Urban Development Strategy has established a coastal development ceiling set at 104,000 people. With the population just under 60,000, on current indications this ceiling is expected to be reached by the year 2020.

"Our diverse ecology, with 21 beaches, our mountains and rainforests and the Solitary Islands Marine National Park, makes sustainable development a key priority," John Smith continued. "At the same time, people want the lifestyle and quality facilities of a modern regional centre." To meet this need, Council is developing City Hill as a cultural and civic focal point.

Located 800 metres from the CBD, the vision is that in 20 to 30 years, art galleries, theatres, a new library, Council Chambers and artists' studios and residential accommodation planned for City Hill, will shift the central focus to this ideal vantage point, overlooking the City, race course, airport and golf course.

"All new facilities will be designed and built to very high standards attracting top quality performances," the Mayor said. As the City continues to host increasing numbers of tourists and builds its reputation as a major conference centre, Council is planning a further upgrade of its Airport. Following the 1992 runway extension, 100 seater jets land regularly. The next upgrade will allow for jets carrying up to 250 passengers, the aim being to attract direct overseas charter flights.

A growing population and increasing numbers of visitors to the area can impact heavily on the delicate ecosystem. Naturally, management of waste water is a vital concern.

"Council has developed one of the best sewerage systems in Australia," Cr Smith said. "With this country being one of the most advanced nations for waste water treatment, that places us at the cutting edge world wide."

An environmental impact study in preparation for further improvements to the system is currently under way. Over the next two years, Council's four treatment works will begin feeding reclaimed waste water into a main for reuse that will run 50 kilometres along the full coastal length of the City boundaries. Any surplus will be discharged to a deep water ocean release point, one and a half kilometres off shore.

"This will place us well ahead of most areas in Australia," the Mayor said. "We have a high living standard in Coffs Harbour because we set such high ecological standards."