Letter: Community's view clear on Dorrigo 'Water Cloud' sculpture

Glen Little's protest van
Glen Little's protest van

THE RECENT private survey undertaken about the 'Water Cloud' proposal at Dorrigo was an unconvincing attempt to influence the formal consultation process that culminated in January resulting in a whopping 'No Vote' of 89.6 per cent.

Clearly, no further consultation is justified. Supporters' lack of motivation to take part is not a valid argument to revisit the process four-and-a-half months later. The still undelivered results from this privately organised and scrutinised survey should not be considered.

The privately organised survey had a number of flaws.The circulated 'FACT Sheet' asked for participating people to reveal their private information. The community expressed their concern to me specifically about privacy issues.

Because so many people identified major problems with the privacy aspect of the survey a large number, quite rightly, abstained.

A number of people approached me in Hickory St asking me how to vote under the impression the 'survey' was a council-run survey. If the council was to support such a survey it should have been advertised as a legitimate survey, be located in a public space, be carried out by impartial persons, be securely scrutinised and counted.

I advised people not to vote at all as this would only legitimise a fundamentally flawed process.

On the first day of the 'survey' and my peaceful protest I was subjected to unprovoked, witnessed, verbal abuse and breathed on at very close range by a member of the pro-sculpture lobby. Police attended and warned him to refrain or face further action. Bullying was definitely a factor limiting involvement of Dorrigo residents and business people fearing repercussions.

This situation need not have transpired had the council conducted consultation in line with its own Community Engagement Strategy. The council must bear some of the responsibility for this situation degenerating and polarising the community when its actual responsibility is to facilitate fair community dialogue.

The community should know this sculpture is the first of a number planned for the CBD in the 'Public Art Plan'. I'm not sure exactly which part the public will play?

Stand Up, Dorrigo! Bring on the elections!

Glen Little, Dorrigo Heritage Defenders