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Sculpture on Clyde warns that Council's new requirements for compliance make the their event unw

The Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber Executive have formally written to Councillors advising them that, in response to a letter from Council outlining Council's new requirements for compliance they have effectively made the event unworkable. They have informed the member base of the chamber and the councillors that it is with regret that they have no option but to cancel the very successful Sculpture on Clyde event as they are not prepared to sacrifice the quality and integrity of art or the event. A very disappointed local business owner (who has requested to remain anonymous due to his ongoing dealings with Council) commented to The Beagle, "basically Council wants to bully its way into the event demanding that one of their own be given a place on the judging panel" . Council insists on having a staff member on the judging panel. In its letter the Chamber states it is unwilling to accept such a demand as their panel includes expertise in local and international sculpture and providing Council with a place on the panel will compromise its independence. Council, who have "no skin in the game" at all by way of any financial contribution also insist on wanting to be privvy to the finances of the event In the letter sent out to the council and councillors they have been given a very pointed response to these demands advising that, "as the event relies heavily on private philanthropic donations from local members of the community, this information is commercial in confidence". It is considered by members of the local community, learning of the issue, that "finally Eurobodalla Council, who often choose to take retreat behind the "commercial in confidence" excuse themselves for withholding information from the public will not be pleased with this well deserved "bird" Council and the councillors". The Chamber had made a request for funding assistance in the acquisition of any permanent acquisitive work however Councillors have been clearly advised that funding the acquisitive work for the community would be helpful, though not essential for the events viability and sustainability. Comments from local business owners suggest that, to date, the only effort put in by Council is to promote the event on their website and via their publications which is considered by many in the Batemans Bay business area as a "token effort at least". The letter pulls no punches in suggesting that from the outset the event's sustainability has been questioned by Council staff without any understanding or request to understand the budget from this year or last year. Council's additional requirement this year is their insistence to place the acquisitive award on "Site 8". In return they offer similar the same basic support which was afforded by way of a concrete slab.

Above; The site insisted on by Council for the next acquisition without even knowing the scale of the material

Another active (name withheld) member of the Batemans Bay Chamber and a strong supporter of the event told The Beagle "Council have not been behind this from the start. Now that are laying down the rules and insisting they run the show". "They have told us they are planning on appointing a specialist events consultant to prepare a new strategy and assist them with new ideas to create new events that align with Eurobodalla’s core values and experiences." "Behind the Sculpture on Clyde event is the dream of creating a sculpture walk from Batemans Bay to Batehaven and the 2016 acquisition was the first to be located along this trail." The rot began to set in with last years acquisition where Council began to bully its way into being part of the event by placing overt demands on the location of the 2017 acquisition. In the end the organisers moved it to private land where it is now part of the Bridge Plaza complex. By dictating, at the last minute where the next acquisition is to be located Council have been formally advised that their insistence will preclude entries by renowned German sculptor Jorg Plickat (large coreten steel work) and renowned Japanese sculptor Haruyuki Uchida (large painted steel work) from the acquisitive award and therefore entry to the event, because of Council's insistance for the acquisitive work to be positioned on "Site 8" above sea water. The Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber has requested advice on alternative sites for the acquisitive award to ensure all entries qualify for acquisition and installation. As yet they have receive no response. The Chamber Executive and Sculpture on Clyde committee have advised Eurobodalla councillors that they have recently secured world renowned sculptures, though received no positive response from Council and "only disparaging questions". In their letter to councillors that state that "the Sculpture on Clyde group will be able to proceed with the Sculpture Walk on private land, though we welcome an inclusive approach by Council. "We will be required to hand back the Destination NSW funding of $20,000, though we will seek agreement from donors to apply their funds to direct acquisitions for the Sculpture Walk. The Chamber Executive and Sculpture on Clyde committee advise that they now plan to expedite the sculpture walk to mitigate disappointment from artists and the community. In the meantime we leave you with this very clear statement by Council about their new Events Strategy The new Events Strategy will provide a strategic framework to guide Council’s support for tourism and community events. The Strategy will also establish strategic directions to maximise outcomes and optimise Council resources and activities associated with identifying, attracting and supporting tourism and community events across Eurobodalla. Importantly, the Strategy will also determine clear guidelines for event organisers to apply for Council financial and in-kind support for tourism and community events. Mayor Liz Innes has requested a meeting with chamber representatives to discuss how the event can avoid unnecessary cancellation. The meeting will take place today (Monday 18th June), and Council will issue a further statement afterwards.

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