Community divided over shade structure

An artist’s impression of a proposed new shade structure in Marshall Street which has divided community opinion. ▪

A lot of thought and planning has gone into the proposed new shade structure to be installed in the main street but its unique design has divided the community.

Cobar Shire Council’s grants officer Brytt Moore said the structure is being funded by the Drought Communities Program which aims to stimulate local economies during the ongoing drought.

“Council will engage a local contractor to ensure the program guidelines are executed.

“This will directly stimulate Cobar’s economy in a positive way,” Ms Moore said.

She said the structure’s primary function is to provide shade and seating and the design chosen expresses the unique character of Cobar.

The structural design takes its cues from the design of mine head structures that are common in the landscape around Cobar.

It incorporates a number of historical items from the New Occidental Gold Mine which were taken from Cobar and put on display for a number of years at the Core Library in Londonderry (Sydney).

They were recently offered back to Cobar Shire Council, and museum curator Kay Stingemore said it was an offer they eagerly took up.

“Through discussion with Council and the Great Cobar Heritage Museum, it was agreed to incorporate the two winder wheels from the Occidental Gold Mine.

“The winder wheels offer an opportunity to imbue a sense of history and belonging within the main street of Cobar,” Mrs Stingemore said.

“The shade structure is an opportunity to have items from the museum collection on permanent accessible display, telling an important part of our history and, we hope, inviting stories of the past.”

She said the new shade structure is reminiscent of the verandah and awning structures on the beautiful old buildings along Marshall Street and the arches on the structure will create a vaulted trellis, encouraging the growth of vegetation that could provide further shade.

Social media complainers have labelled the structure as being ugly, an “eyesore” and “a waste of money”.