Growth through innovation and collaboration is setting up Coffs Harbour as a well connected, commercially viable centre for business. Supercharging the city with major infrastructure projects is delivering jobs and investment like never before and establishing the Coffs Coast as a globally recognised Australian city.
Coffs Harbour’s 1.88B Pacific Hwy Bypass is delivering jobs and is set to reframe this once regional country town
The final link in the chain between Sydney and Brisbane will soon become a reality as the $1.8Bn Coffs Harbour Bypass construction begins.
Tenders have been awarded to Ferrovial and Gamuda who will combine to construct the 14km final stretch of Highway that will bypass the regional city and remove 12 sets of traffic lights from commuters journey along the coast. The bypass is set to remove approximately 12,000 vehicles from the centre of Coffs Harbour each day.
Once completed, the bypass will take 12 minutes off the trip for commuters.
Job creation will be the big win for the region as local contractors gear up to employ more workers from across the state. Up to 3000 local crew will be required to complete the 5 year project which will inject a considerable amount of money into the local economy.
Two tunnels and a north and south interchange will reframe the city just below the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range which offers Coffs Harbour the incredible opportunity to revitalise its offer. Plans for the revitalisation of the City Centre including higher density residential development mixed with retail and dining precincts have begun.
NSW Regional Transport and Roads Minister Sam Farraway said “The Coffs Harbour bypass will transform travel in this region by diverting 12,000 vehicles away from the CBD, saving motorists around 12 minutes off their trip” Adding “I am pleased to say that many of the jobs will be filled by local people who were involved in the Pacific Highway upgrade, which we jointly delivered in 2020”
State Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh says “The Coffs Harbour bypass will ease highway congestion and improve safety, while providing wider economic benefits for the Coffs Harbour area by making the CBD a more attractive place to visit, shop and work”
Coffs Harbour Airport is key to a perfect landing as regional city experiences continued growth
In the think big 1980’s, International demand for the Coffs Coast spawned the development of beachside resorts, setting up Coffs Harbour as the family Summer holiday locale it has become famous for. Eying off the opportunity to enter the inbound export market, Coffs Harbour made plans to develop its airport into that of International capacity, even landing a plane direct from New Zealand on the (almost long enough) runway.
The early nineties gloomy economic landscape put a pin in that idea and now a little over 30 years later, this key piece of infrastructure is gaining the momentum it needs to become the gateway to the North Coast.
Palisade, responsible for developing the highly successful Sunshine Coast airport made a successful bid on the lease of the airport in 2019 and in addition, have been bringing to life the adjacent Enterprise park which will become home to multiple commercial and industrial type businesses as well as a proposed hotel development.
The Enterprise park offers significant opportunity for businesses looking to move to or establish themselves on the NSW North Coast, with easy access for those needing to commute and just 1 hour flight to Sydney, Direct to Melbourne and Canberra among other destinations.
Investment Director at Palisade Investment Partners Mike Reynolds says “The Coffs Coast region is one of the fastest growing regional areas within New South Wales and the airport presents an exciting opportunity not only for the Coffs community, but also for Palisade Investors”
What’s good for business is good for tourism and good for a growing population. The investment in both domestic and International inbound is building significant opportunity on the Coffs Coast.
Coffs Harbour population is booming and its property market continues to grow and prosper
Investors and first home buyers would be reasonably savvy in considering a strike on the Coffs Coast. With the final sets of traffic lights between Sydney and the Gold Coast set to be bypassed (Work beginning 2022/23), an era of reinvention looms for the coastal town.
As the city’s predicted growth shoots toward 100,000 by 2032, the city is set not only for significant urban sprawl both North and South of the CBD, but according to the Coffs Harbour local growth management strategy 2020, a focus on high density development that will in time, build urbanisation, jobs and a thriving CBD by 2040.
Could it be that Coffs Harbour will shed its mirror-like reactionary relationship with Australia’s major cities and instead enjoy a prolonged market correction?
The region certainly has a few key factors contributing to its forward movement. Principal at McGrath Coffs Harbour and Sawtell, Martin Wells says that the area is not unlike a sleeping giant “The Coffs Harbour Region has enjoyed a significant market correction. Certainly the whole covid transition toward regionalisation and working from are factors” adding “High speed NBN and good connectivity make Coffs a sustained growth area. We have seen growth in the order of some 30 -40 % and while the market has now plateaued, a supply side shortfall is helping to maintain pricing”
With a population tipped to push past 100,000 by 2030, the Coffs Harbour region will need to work quicky to solve issues surrounding supply. Coffs Harbour local growth management strategy predicts an additional 13,267 new dwellings are required to meet demand by 2040. To meet surging demand, the city is focussed on urban upward growth, rather than prioritising urban sprawl. Building capacity for higher density living in the CBD will allow for sustained growth.
Mr Wells also says there is real potential for first home buyers “There are a few growth areas for first home buyers. Land releases at Nambucca Heads, Grafton and even Macksville continue to provide opportunity. Highway upgrades are making it an easy commute.” he says.
And what about for investors? “We’re seeing good yield across the whole of the coast. While capital growth may take some time, investor opportunnities are strong” says Mr Wells.
SOME OF THE KEY ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AT PLAY:
- A lack of a large supply of new land for residential development
- High demand by Australians for regional towns
- Proximity to natural assets including 70km of pristine beaches and extensive hinterland rainforest
- Lack of ready housing coupled with significant jobs growth
- A strong rental market
Continued infrastructure development will put Coffs Harbour in good stead. Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour Hospital, sports hub and enterprise park are driving jobs and demand for the area by both young and old.
Education and innovation is high on the curriculum on the Coffs Coast
As Australia’s workforce continues to grow and change, it is critical that workplace, skills based programming be built into tertiary education. At Coffs Harbour’s Southern Cross University (SCU), recent partnerships with Coffs Harbour Health Campus has led to renewed investment in the Coffs Harbour Education Campus.
2019 saw the ribbon cutting of a brand new $12M Health building which features a series of advanced laboratories including a movement lab, human performance lab, daily living lab, personal skills labs, clinical skills lab, simulation lab and clinical sciences labs.
The facility has allowed SCU to further expand their Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Psychology and Exercise Science degrees, and introduce new courses including a double degree in Law and Psychology.
“A second stage of development would enable us to work more closely with the Coffs Harbour Health Campus and the International Sports Stadium, which are both located just a few kilometers away from the University grounds,” Professor Christidis says.
“Our vision is to create a collaborative centre which focuses on all aspects of health study, training and research.” says Christidis
Coffs Harbours relationship with Innovation is not a new one. The Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce supports innovation all all levels through it’s business building capacity and partnerships with Southern Cross University and other local business.
In 2018 the Chamber of commerce supported a 12 month trial of a self driving Easymile EZ 10 vehicle (Busbot). This sort of eco-friendly innovation supports the ongoing commitment to connectivity for visitors to The Coffs Coast. Recent Chamber support for the Allied Health project as well as collaboration with initiatives such as the City of Coffs Harbour’s 6 degrees program are accelerating economic development in new and emerging industries.
Coffs Coast Sports Hub is kicking goals for the community
Coffs Harbour’s ‘goal’ of becoming a centre for regional sport is proving a winner across multiple codes. With a strong history in attracting regional and state competition across Touch Football, Oztag, Hockey and Soccer, a strategic push to bolster the city with a sports hub on the southside of the town, is proving a deal maker for both National and International events including the NRL, A-League, together as a host venue for International tourisng artists such as Elton John.
Stage 1 which was completed in 2019 included a full redesign and development of the International stadium which now boasts capacity for 20,000 people on the ground, with facilities capable of hosting International sporting teams and major broadcasting facilities. The stadium development awarded to local contractors attracted $10m in funding from the NSW State Government.
Stage 2 of the Hub has included three new rectangular fields (2 synthetic and 1 turf) with associated amenities including hub café and change rooms.
Stage 3 of the project which is slated for the future will see the construction of a Regional Indoor Sports Centre which will bring mixed use opportunities for sports such as basketball and Volleyball.
The final stage of the Sports hub which is set out over 50 acres will complete the major overhaul of the area and finalises the development set between Coffs Harbour’s growing Health Campus and expanding University precinct. This stage includes a new field construction on the North West corner of the playing fields.
Coffs Harbour City Councils director for Sustainable communities Daniel Heather says the project, now 5 years in the making, is proving an incredible boost to visitation and has created a bevy of jobs in the local community.