Obama may visit Nimbin
NIMBIN’S somewhat disorganised campaign for a Presidential visit received an official boost this week from Lismore City Council and the US Consulate General.
Council’s tourism manager Mitch Lowe has submitted an official presidential itinerary proposal to the Federal Government which includes a night in a five-star Nimbin teepee, a visit to Rainbow Power Company, and afternoon tea at Gunnawannabe Aboriginal café and art gallery.
“Nimbin is a place like no other in the world and has to be experienced first-hand,” he said.
“We think it would be a great opportunity to show the President the real Northern Rivers culture.”
Mr Lowe’s move follows an outpouring of support for Nimbin after Tweed Shire Council’s tourism manager snubbed the infamous North Coast hippy town in the press last week.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell and adventurer Dick Smith both spoke out in defence of Australia’s alternative capital.
Mr Smith even offered to chopper the presidential party into Nimbin from Ballina airport in his own helicopters.
Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the town appreciated President Obama’s liberal views on cannabis, though promised that no one in Nimbin ‘would pressure him to inhale’.
Questions of security costs were put to rest by Mardi Grass organiser Heathen Lovechild who suggested the current police presence, including the Riot Squad, the Dog Squad and the helicopter surveillance, would be more than adequate to protect the Obama family.
Nimbin’s unofficial police service, the Polite Force, has offered to cover any security gaps.
The US Secret Service has declined to respond to security questions left on its Washington DC answering machine yesterday.
However, a spokeswoman for the US Consulate General told The Northern Star the White House was considering a number of possibilities and Nimbin had definitely not been ruled out.
“The first family has visited a number of cities large and small when touring so at this stage no Australian town or city is off the table,” she said.
“President Obama and the girls have told us they are very much looking forward to visiting Australia.”
Mr Lowe said the Lismore City Council was prepared to work closely with the White House and the Secret Service to provide a safe environment for the President.
He also cited the Queen’s 1954 visit to Lismore as the precedent for such a high level visit.
“Her Majesty stayed at the Gollan Hotel, so if it’s is good enough for the Queen…”
A bar attendant at the Gollan said the Queen’s room was unfortunately booked out in March.
“You’ll have to contact the manager,” she said.
PROPOSED PRESIDENTIAL ITINERARY
• Overnight stay in a Nimbin YHA five-star teepee.
• Visit to the Nimbin candle factory.
• Tour of the Rainbow Power Company.
• Lunch at Djanbung Permaculture Gardens.
• A walk through the main street to sample Nimbin’s living culture.
• Visit to the Nimbin Koala Care Centre.
• Afternoon tea at Gunnawannabe Aboriginal café and art gallery.