Thinking outside box saves rare red booth

WHILE they might be as common as overcast weather in London, red phone boxes are a rare sight these days, which is exactly why Bellingen Shire councillors would like to see one of Bellingen's two remaining ones preserved as part of the streetscape.

The boxes already have a history with the previous council trying to retain them in August 2005. At that time Bellingen Lions Club repaired the rotting wooden booths. However ongoing deterioration has resulted in Telstra removing the telephones.

Last week council was asked to decide whether to rebuild one booth using hardwood (cost estimation $4596) and give the remaining box to Bellingen Historical Society or whether both should be replaced with a standard Telstra public phone booth.

Cr Kerry Child advocated for the retention of one booth. “We could use funds from the general revenue surplus to do this or some of the Federal funds we were allocated last week.”

Mayor Mark Troy said the cost of maintenance should not be forgotten.

Cr Bruce Cronin clarified the options. “Are we looking at Telstra taking care of this for no cost versus council paying $4500 for repairs plus ongoing maintenance?” he said.

While the boxes are regarded as 'significant' in the town's streetscape, they are not considered to have any heritage value. The council voted in favour of Cr Child's motion with the exception of Cr Cronin.



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