The final stage of the installation of Corey Thomas' 12 metre tall lighthouse sculpture on the new Bayshore Drive Roundabout at Byron Bay.
The final stage of the installation of Corey Thomas' 12 metre tall lighthouse sculpture on the new Bayshore Drive Roundabout at Byron Bay.

What council will do with funds from lighthouse sculpture

FUNDS recovered from the sale of Byron's lighthouse sculpture birds will be split between a new arts and cultural policy for the council and homelessness services.

Byron Shire Councillors had the chance to consider a staff recommendation on what to do with the $26,948 remaining at Thursday's ordinary meeting.
That sum is what was remaining after the aluminium birds were sold to members of the public.

While councillors ultimately adopted the recommendation from staff, Crs Jan Hackett and Alan Hunter attempted to move an alternate motion that would see all of the funds go toward the arts and cultural policy.

"I know council has voted for the staff recommendation last year but I just couldn't let it go without having a few more words to say on the matter," Cr Hackett said.

"What we were told late last year was that for the 2019-20 budget, we're in a situation where we have no arts or cultural budget at all and no dedicated staff to that area.

"The only (arts) money in that budget was $17,000 for public art."

Yet in June last year, the council passed a motion for staff to seek up to $100,000 to start work on "arts and cultural planning strategies and actions", she said.

"This is money raised from a mistake we made and id like it to go towards making sure we don't make that mistake in the future," Cr Hackett said,

At the meeting, staff explained the council provides more than $1.3 million worth of in-kind support in the arts sector and noted homelessness services were "chronically underfunded".

Mayor Simon Richardson said he was aware the matter was "still tender".

"I think our decisions and our way of being flexible to find value-added benefits from what was a pretty bruising experience (was) pretty pleasing," Cr Richardson said.

In the face of the controversy around the sculpture itself, he said the sale of the birds recovered from it was "quite an innovative way to generate some revenue".

"I think we generated some good will," he said.

"There are many people in this community who've got something they treasure.

"What I think it does show for us is we're looking to do something good our of something contentious."

"I think we've finished this process a lot better than we started it."

The staff recommendation to split the money was ultimately carried, with only Cr Hackett voting against it.



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