The sculpture is being funded by a local philanthropist who has offered to gift it as a work of public art for the community.
The sculpture is being funded by a local philanthropist who has offered to gift it as a work of public art for the community.

Protesters plan action to halt ‘water cloud’ sculpture

Angry residents are planning a protest outside Council chambers to fight plans for an imposing modern sculpture in the heart of historic Dorrigo.

They are so opposed to the project they've established Dorrigo Heritage Defenders to fight it.

The matter will be considered at Wednesday morning's Bellingen Shire Council meeting with a report from senior staff recommending it be approved.

Glen Little, who is a sculptor himself, is a driving force behind the defenders group.

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

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

Described as a landmark piece of public art the 'Water Cloud' sculpture will be suspended over poles on Hickory Street adjacent to the Dorrigo Hall.

It is being funded by an anonymous philanthropist.

Artist Stuart Green's design was selected by a panel including Bellingen Shire Council Mayor Dominic King.

Stuart has been making and installing public art for the last 25 years, nationally and internationally. With Dorrigo known for its stunning waterfalls his design was chosen as an appropriate symbol for the town.

Dangar Falls, near the township of Dorrigo.
Dangar Falls, near the township of Dorrigo.

Supporters say it will help bring in tourists and could form the start of an art trail continuing in nearby Bellingen.

"Only one Councillor actually lives in Dorrigo so one school of thought is that the proposal is being pushed through by Councillors who just don't care about Dorrigo."

An initial 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 and hundreds of people signed the 'Water Cloud Sculpture Won't Make it Rain Tourists' petition.

Glen says it's not just out of keeping with the heritage town but poses safety concerns with it being placed over a roadway.

In May an out-of-control car smashed into the Cenotaph, also on Hickory Street, toppling the iconic lone soldier.

The historic war memorial in Dorrigo was destroyed after a car smashed into the iconic monument last month. Photo Frank Redward.
The historic war memorial in Dorrigo was destroyed after a car smashed into the iconic monument last month. Photo Frank Redward.

The matter was last up for consideration at Council's January meeting where Councillors asked the philanthropist to conduct further consultation.

"The fact the Council intends to accept this bias survey result is unacceptable and unethical," Glen said.

"At the heart of our issues relating to the sculpture are inconsistencies about how consultation has occurred and how the information resulting from consultation has been misrepresented and manipulated to downplay the degree of objection to the proposal."



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