An application to demolish five buildings, including the former Forestry Corporation office at the Jetty is being considered by Coffs Harbour City Council.

The development proposal has been made by Pacific Coast Developments 357 Pty Ltd which purchased the site at 357 Harbour Dr in 2016 for $3,011,950. Council submission documents reveal the company is owned by Gowings Bros, the owners of Coffs Central.

The State of Environmental Effects report outlines that the owner’s intention is to remove the buildings to provide a cleared site suitable for redevelopment in accordance with the mixed-use business zone that applies to the site and to maintain some links with the past use of the land associated with the forestry industry.

There had been some question over whether the original forestry building should be retained for its heritage value. The building was listed in the 2105 Community Based Heritage Study as being of local heritage significance, however Australian Heritage Specialists Pty Ltd conducted a review and found that the heritage significance of the building’s exterior has been compromised by weather, alterations and additions.

The report found the external timber facade has rotted at lower levels while all the vertical timber battens had been removed when aluminium cladding was nailed directly to the original boards.

Removing the aluminium cladding is considered unviable without further damaging the original timber boards, while stripping the lead paint and re-finishing what is left of the the original timbers was also not considered an option due to the age of the boards and the unlikelihood of finding matching boards where replacements would be needed.

The submission also shows the building has asbestos, lead paint and concrete cancer.

However the interiors of the building were found to have heritage value and are considered worthy of preservation. The report recommends an Archival Recording and an Interpretation Strategy be carried out to retain the heritage values of the timbers used within the building. It is also suggested these materials could be used in landscaping and public domain areas in the future development.

Exactly what the future development of the site will look remains under wraps.

The submission documents do state that Gowings Bros is keen to consider viable options for the redevelopment of the site which are sympathetic to the local history.

The Coffs Harbour Development Control Plan (DCP) 2015 seeks to promote buildings within a height of 19m set on a podium that retains light and scale to the street-scape of Harbour Dr. The DCP also seeks to create an active street frontage with zero building setback and awnings along the street frontage for shade and shelter.