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  • Devonport Council rejects advice of aldermen

    2018 - 07.03

    HONOURING THE FALLEN: Two controversial war memorials will be built on Victoria Parade.TWO controversial war memorials will be constructed on Victoria Parade after the Devonport City Council voted against the advice of a special public arts committee.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The memorial walls, proposed by the Devonport RSL and the Vietnam Veterans Association Devonport sub-branch, will be built after the motion to reject the proposal was defeated at the council meeting on Monday.

    Three aldermen, who are also members of the public arts special interest group, voted to reject the proposal, voting instead to go back to both groups to work on what they considered a more community-friendly public art design.

    Aldermen Justine Keay and Alison Jarman were vocal about their support for a memorial but were against the idea of both of them being memorial walls.

    Alderman Jeff Matthews was also against the proposal of a wall.

    The three form the Devonport Council representatives on the public art special interest committee, which also includes community members with interest or expertise in the arts.

    The trio said they weren’t against a memorial but against the memorials in their current forms as walls.

    The public arts special interest group was formed after a public backlash when the council bought the Spirit of the Sea statue.

    Alderman Keay said yesterday that the backlash that the council had received after the purchase “highlighted the need for a special committee to assess public art work proposals”.

    The public art special interest group operates under the Devonport City Council public arts policy and guidelines, which has a special section devoted to memorials.

    Alderman Keay was disappointed with the wording of the report at the council meeting, saying it made the public art special interest group look like they were opposing the memorials.

    “We really thought it was an opportunity to make something unique . . . we felt that walls just replicated something that already exists,” she said.

    “Memorials have to be done in a sensitive way that the whole community can support.”

    Discussion at Monday night’s council meeting was robust, with Alderman Jarman and Alderman Keay visibly upset at the decision made by the other aldermen to pass the memorial proposals.

    Alderman Jarman said memorials could be completed in more artistic and creative ways and spoke about the new memorial mural at Sheffield.

    “My grandfather died in the war and I’d much rather go and look at a mural than go and look at another wall with a plaque; it’s like another gravestone, and we already have that,” she said.

    Devonport Mayor Steve Martin said time pressures, particularly in the case of the Devonport RSL proposal, as well as a need to not reject the proposal in its entirety had likely spurred the vote of his colleagues.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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