Petition past 500

By David Kavanagh | posted on July 26, 2019

A PETITION to save Denmark’s beloved John Clark Memorial Bandstand from demolition was tabled at last week’s council meeting.

The document was signed by a total of 513 people and called on councillors to “revoke” decisions made at a June 18 council meeting to pull down the structure and forgo public consultation (‘Bandstand to fall’, June 20).

Earlier this year the Shire conducted an independent assessment of the bandstand following a routine inspection and deemed the building structurally unsafe.

Former chairperson of the Denmark Historical Society Beverley McGuinness, who collated the petition’s signatures over a period of three weeks, said many community members felt very strongly about the issue.

“A lot of staff and even some of the councillors have not been here for very long and I just don’t feel that they appreciate heritage the way other people do,” she said.

“We’ve got so very few buildings of heritage value left and you don’t want our town to be just like everybody else’s town, it makes it unique.

“It’s also supposed to be part of council’s policy that they do consult with the community on issues and they chose not to this time.”

It was outgoing Deputy Shire President Peter Caron who moved an amended recommendation precluding the issue from going to the public for comment.

“It’s with deep regret that I make this recommendation,” he said at last month’s meeting.

“The bandstand is in a terrible state and it would cost more than $100,000 which we can’t afford … it would be wasteful to look at options that are not feasible.

“I have consulted with the Denmark Historical Society to salvage parts of the bandstand to be preserved.”

Ms McGuinness said she had been approached by a number of builders since council’s decision who told her while the building “does need some work”, it did not necessarily have to be demolished.

Addressing Cr Caron at last week’s council meeting, Ms McGuinness advised alternative options to demolishment could include refurbishment and external funding.

“I think [the Shire] just took the word of the engineer that they engaged to look at it,” she told the Weekender.

“I would love to see the community have some input and council take on board what people are saying … I don’t know what they’ll do about it at this point.”

Shire President Ceinwen Gearon was contacted for comment.