Boundary change, a stretch too far for Coffs Harbour City
A LATE change to the boundary of the proposed North Coast Joint Organisation has raised concerns for Coffs Harbour City Council.
Coffs Harbour City - together with the Clarence Valley, Bellingen and Nambucca shire councils - has been earmarked since 2013 to become a member of the regional North Coast Joint Organisation.
JOs are intended to be partnerships of councils with three core functions - regional strategic planning, intergovernmental collaboration and regional leadership and advocacy.
But in mid-September, the NSW Government stated it now wished to include Port Macquarie-Hastings and Kempsey shire councils in the North Coast Joint Organisation.
Port Macquarie-Hastings and Kempsey councils were originally intended to be part of the proposed Mid-North Coast JO, together with Great Lakes, Greater Taree City and Gloucester Shire Councils.
However Great Lakes, Greater Taree City and Gloucester Shire Councils now form the new Mid Coast Council, which is to be included in the Hunter JO.
This left only two councils to form the Mid North Coast JO.
The State Government decided that this would not be viable and has proposed the expanded North Coast JO.
The concerns raised by Coffs Harbour City Council in a statement centre on the way the proposed North Coast JO cuts across the NSW Government's own criteria for setting boundaries.
Their concerns include:
- Coffs Harbour and the other regional major growth centre of Port Macquarie-Hastings will at times be competing for growth infrastructure and resources, which goes against the criteria that JO boundaries reflect areas of strategic growth.
- Having two major growth centres (Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie-Hastings) means there are two separate communities of interest - not the one the State Government says is best for a JO.
- The proposed North Coast JO cannot be based around a strong regional centre because there would be two - Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie-Hastings. Again, this would not fit the boundary criteria.
As a result of the issues raised, the council will make a submission expressing its concerns with the proposed expanded North Coast JO boundaries and strongly supporting the original boundaries.
The new JOs are due to be operational from early 2017.