Some key points for your submission to Council

For those feeling hesitant, confused or a little lost with the whole process of writing a submission to Council, here are some points:

  1. It doesn’t have to be literature. You don’t get extra points for being a Tolstoy or Dickens. So long as you’re clear about why your objecting, that’s enough.
  2. Your style is your own. Don’t be put off because you think that someone else’s submission is in some way “better”. It’s not. Your voice, in your own words, is all you need.
  3. Feel like you’re back at school? Don’t. This ain’t a high school essay, it’s not getting ‘marked’ or graded in some way, it’s not a test of expression or comprehension or spelling, or anything else. You just have to let Council know that you’re against this development, and why.
  4. It’s not size that matters, right? A couple of paragraphs, making a couple of points that get you most steamed, is enough.
  5. Don’t feel pressured by what others might think or do. Yes, some people in the community will write submissions that go on for many pages, reference regulations, cite science, and quote precedents. That’s fine: that’s their style and their approach. It doesn’t have to be yours.
  6. Just do it. The most important thing is that you write something to show your opposition to this development.
  7. You can write more than once. Forgotten something? Write another submission. There’s no limit on how many submissions you can write. You don’t have to reference your previous submission. Just write another one. Both (or all it there are many) are valid. So long as they’re in your own words.
  8. Oh, and don’t personally, verbally attack the applicant or councillors (or anyone else for that matter). Passion is great, but abuse doesn’t do you any favours. Remember, too, that councillors are residents of  the greater Coffs Harbour community, and, while you may not agree with all their decisions, they still deserve to be given the same respect you would afford any other resident.

A quick (and simplified) insight into the submissions process:

We have until 15 July to get our submissions in. That will be strictly observed. A submission on 16 July will not be valid.

Some poor clerk then has the job of tallying the reasons for individual’s objections. He or she picks the first submission off the pile, reads it and in so doing notes down the main areas of concern. Then they pick up the next submission; if the concerns are similar, they add to the tally; if the reasons are different, those reasons are added to the list of concerns. And so it goes until all the submissions are read and all the objections have been condensed into a list and a tally. That tally is ultimately documented and presented to Council (and the public).

With that in mind, bullet points are your friend, especially if you’re not comfortable with writing. Imagine yourself as the clerk who has to document all these reasons and tally them up: a plain, simple bullet list would be a delight.

At some point Council has to consider the development application, any community objections (or support, if there is any), and vote on whether or not the development application is approved. This is an open forum and the public have a right to be there. A select group of individuals are also able to make a short speech to Council, if that’s your thing. To be there in person for this review process reinforces your objection to the DA, and is well worth doing.

In summary:

  • You can write more than one submission.
  • Your style, your words: that’s the important thing.
  • Bullet points are fine. The length of your submission doesn’t matter.
  • You must get your submission in before the deadline of 15 July.


  • Submissions must be sent to
    Gary Cheney
    Coffs Harbour City Council
    Locked Bag 155
    Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2050


Your submission must include your full name and address, the DA reference (0824/16DA), and the address of the proposed development (2B & 4 Moonee Beach Road).

You can copy your submission to other councillors, but it must go primarily to Gary Cheney, as above.


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