Debate on Cooper memorial bench

DEBATE about where to place a bench came close to descending into a spiteful game of musical chairs during yesterday’s monthly meeting of the Bellingen Shire Council.

The bench is a memorial to the late disability activist Ian ‘Mini’ Cooper.

While councillors unequivocally acknowledged the merit of the memorial, a sticking point was that its own Access Advisory Committee had not consulted with the council before ordering the bench.

A sleek and elegant piece of furniture made free by Rod Sommers from timber donated by Bill Gilbert, it was argued it did not match the remaining seats and benches in the park in front of the council chambers and now known as Maam Gadyung.

That was just one reason why Cr Sean Tuohy thought its positioning under a shady tree on the western side of the library and away from existing furniture would be ideal.

“It has become a very high traffic area and it would be a great place for the bench,” Cr Tuohy said.

But Cr Kerry Child thought that location would be a slight against the late Mr Cooper’s work.

“The Access Committee wants it put next to the Nita Hammond Memorial Bench beside the path to the chambers,” she said.

“It deserves to go in a high-profile place.”

That sparked Cr Bruce Cronin: “The premium site in town is outside the post office so why not put it there.”

It was decided to place the memorial bench beside the path leading to the council chambers and next to the Nita Hammond Memorial Bench.



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