Letter to the Editor, The Advocate, 17 June 2016

So Gowing Bros ‘love affair’ with Coffs Harbour continues, and now it has set its sights on Moonee Beach. And what is Gowings’ vision for our beautiful coastal village? A 24/7 service centre and fast food outlet.

This adds nothing to the social amenity of our community — just noise, fumes, traffic, environmental risk, ‘fat food’, and two industries that have been found by the ACCC to routinely exploit their workforce.

The proposal’s unacknowledged details include the routine exposure of cancer-causing pollutants to kids in the neighbouring childcare centre; an exit for highway bound traffic directly adjacent to a school bus stop and childcare driveway entrance; environmental risk from fuel spills; and the total, inescapable, unavoidable lure of fast food marketing (aka ‘pester power’) for both residents and visitors to Moonee as the development is sited on the only road in and out of the village.

In various vision statements and sustainability policies, Council has repeatedly stressed the importance of retaining the character and community of the Coffs Coast’s villages. One doesn’t have to look far to see the mistakes made by other councils up and down the east coast where unchecked development has completely drained any sense of community spirit and left in its wake a neon-lit testament to corporate insensitivity and blinkered decision making.

Council has many controls within its arsenal to deny this development, and in so doing show that their Vision for the future of Coffs Harbour and its villages isn’t just lip service. The question is, Does it have the brass?

Community action has clearly shown that residents do not want this development to proceed, not because they’re against development per se, but because this proposed development does nothing but detract from the nature of the village and social amenity of the community.

This is not just a battle for Moonee, but for all residents of Coffs Harbour and its beautiful villages; we need to send a message to Council and developers that our villages are worth preserving and that their long-term social and economic viability is built on the very qualities that make them ‘villages’, not on a developer’s eye for a quick profit.

Don’t let Moonee become just another boil on the arse of the Pacific Highway. Join the residents of Moonee in opposing this ill-conceived, insensitive development proposal. Go to mooneebeachactiongroup.org for information on Why and How to voice your opposition.

Show Council (and Gowings, for that matter) what a ‘community’ is really made of.

[This is a copy of text sent to the Advocate 17 June, 2016, for publication in their Letters to the Editor. As of 1 July, it had not been published.]

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