Sculpture Finds New Path Hard to Figure
It appears the organisers of Sculpture by the Sea are put out because Waverley Council has opted to provide disabled access to Marks Park.
Council has decided to build a path in the park to make it more accessible for those with disabilities and easier for them to be able to enjoy the annual sculpture event.
But Sculpture founding director David Handley feels the event will be put at risk and has threatened to make this year’s show the last for Marks Park.
“Waverley Council’s decision is devastating for Sculpture by the Sea and destroys Marks Park as a window to the world for the hundreds of thousands of people that come to see the artworks set against the iconic backdrop every spring,” Mr Handley said in his media release.
“We have informed Council this is likely to be the last exhibition.”
It’s not as though Sculpture by the Sea organisers weren’t aware of the changes to the park as Waverley Council has been in regular contact with Sculpture representatives over the proposed changes to the path.
“Council has had significant contact with various Sculpture by the Sea representatives over the park upgrade and accessibility path over the past few years, including with the organisation’s then chief executive,” Waverley Council’s general manager Ross McLeod told The Beast.
“Feedback received from their representatives helped inform our plans for the pathway, and consultation for the project.”
“We do not accept the assertion that Sculpture by the Sea will have to relocate because of our accessible pathway (and) suspect the impact is being overstated.”
There was some suggestion that the path would be dangerous in adverse weather conditions, but Mr McLeod rejected those claims.
“Council has reviewed risk reports provided by Sculpture by the Sea,” he said.
“There will be no greater risk from people being on the path than there is from people being on grass/turf in the same location.”
“The risk emerges from people being there at all and is accentuated by them being there in large numbers for events like Sculpture by the Sea.”
Despite Sculpture’s threat of relocation for the event, Waverley Council recently agreed to continue supporting the event and also offered an extension of the licence should Sculpture by the Sea wish to remain in Bondi until 2030.
Waverley Council has been a solid supporter of the 23 year-old exhibition, which attracts more than 400,000 people over its one-month duration from late October.
“Council will continue to support the event to the tune of around $150,000 each year including covering the cost of soil remediation, traffic control and grants of around $16,000 including $5,000 for the ‘Tactile Tours’ and the $5,000 Mayor’s Prize,” Waverley mayor John Wakefield told The Beast.
Unfortunately it seems this support is not enough for Sculpture by the Sea, who view the new access path for locals and visitors alike as an inconvenience, a claim Council disagrees with.
“Council’s view is that services for people with disabilities outweighs some inconvenience and potential aesthetic impact over a small portion of the Sculpture by the Sea event which will still be free to use the park,” Mr McLeod said.