The Cenotaph and Clocktower and a concept drawing of the sculpture at night.
The Cenotaph and Clocktower and a concept drawing of the sculpture at night.

Bold proposal for main street of heritage town

A plan for a large suspended sculpture in the historic main street of Dorrigo continues to cause controversy.

Local man Glen Little, who is a sculptor himself, says the proposed 'Water Cloud' sculpture is out of keeping with the town's historic streetscape and would be better suited in another location.

Dorrigo sculptor Glen Little is against the proposal for a modern artwork suspended on poles in the centre of the historic town.
Dorrigo sculptor Glen Little is against the proposal for a modern artwork suspended on poles in the centre of the historic town.

The 10.5 by 6.5 metre aluminium artwork would be suspended over poles on Hickory Street adjacent to the Dorrigo Hall and Visitor Information Centre.

It is being funded by a local philanthropist as a work of public art for the community.

The bold proposal was the subject of a petition titled 'Water Cloud Sculpture Won't Make it Rain Tourists' which attracted hundreds of signatures urging Bellingen Shire Council not to approve it.

A round of public consultation on what Glen describes as Council's "clunky web portal" received almost 900 submissions against and just over 100 for the proposal.

"Despite this emphatic response, Council undeterred still pursues approval," Glen said.

"​One school of though​t is that because only one Councillor actually lives in Dorrigo the proposal is being pushed through by Councillors who just don't care about Dorrigo."

 

Dorrigo streetscape.
Dorrigo streetscape.

He fears the sculpture could ruin the entire look of the town.

"I note Council's sensitivity considering the heritage value of the Cenotaph with regard to the long ​awaited roundabout upgrade but, this seems a distinct double standard.

"The impact of a huge aluminium sculpture designed to dominate the heritage streetscape and lit with programmable coloured lighting over the mainstreet and seen from hundreds of metres away is being ignored."

The matter was before Councillors at their January 29 meeting where a number of concerns were discussed including risks associated with the rigid nature of the structure, and the need for barriers and safety zones given its placement over the roadway.

Council also noted the majority of submissions expressed concerns with the location and form of the sculpture.

It was resolved to refer it back to the philanthropist for a: "detailed

response back to Council, including the potential to explore other options and the

potential for the provision of a model or further visual representations of the artwork".