Think Tank: Have your say on what infrastructure and development Coffs Harbour needs to consider on The Advocate Facebook page today. Picture: Visit Sunshine Coast

Coffs Harbour stands at a cross roads in 2019.

There will be a changing of the guard across the State and Federal political landscapes, with the retirements of long serving incumbents Andrew Fraser and Luke Hartsuyker, in a double election year.

With new political hopefuls stepping up to the mark to represent the region, it’s important the local political agenda is established well before we head to the polls.

Any incoming Member of Parliament must be aware of the concepts and plans being discussed across the community, so as MPs they can effectively set the wheels in motion towards attracting the necessary funding to help foster the city’s future.

Among the key projects in the works are the State Government’s development plans for crown land on the Jetty Foreshores, and the city’s bid to attract new and developing industries such as new tech companies, start-ups, 3D printing companies, call centres as well as freight and aviation-related sectors to the 150-lot Aviation Drive industrial estate that Coffs Harbour City Council is actioning.

Through forward thinking planning strategies, the opportunities are endless.

Another novel suggestion being discussed in local business circles is a move to lengthen the airport runway to carry international airlines.

This could see Coffs Harbour attract international airlinks and the possibility of direct flights to Asia – opening up new trade and freight possibilities and the tourism spin-off of international passengers.

Another key proposal, that seems to hold merit, is the possibility of a harbour cruise ship terminal.

We only have to look to South West Rocks for inspiration, which recently hosted the luxury cruise ship MS Caledonian Sky.

Eighty passengers, on the cruise from Cairns to Melbourne, stepped ashore at Trial Bay Gaol Beach.

With a developed Coffs Harbour foreshore as a future attraction, imagine the economic return for the city, if cruise ships anchored off our coast and passengers were brought ashore on tender vessels for a day’s shopping and dining.

With tourism one of Coffs’ backbone industries let’s hope our future political leadership work hard to grow the destination marketing appeal of the Coffs Coast and the influx of visitors by land, air and sea.

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