Proposed demolition of gazebo prompts backlash
"PUTTING the museum here is a stupid idea,” Evans Head resident Gary McDonald said.
Richmond Valley Council recently announced the decision to demolish the gazebo or weather shed as it is sometimes called, and put the old school building housing The Living Museum on that spot.
Mr McDonald said he came to the gazebo when he was a baby and family gatherings and reunions are regularly held at the gazebo next to the beach Kiosk, and families introduced the next generation to Evans Head through gatherings at the gazebo.
"The Haydens and Cliffords have their anniversary here and 50 families come from as far as Woollongong,” he said.
"They buy 50 cream horns from the bakery to remember a family member who loved cream horns.”
Such are the memories of the basic beach shelter shared with families for decades.
Mr McDonald was keen to see Evans Head grow.
"We need to be progressive and have a few modern things,” he said but was wary of changing Evans Head too much and the reasons people loved to come to the coastal town.
The gazebo, he said, should remain.
Richmond Valley Council said they received a letter of support from the NSW Police Service for the demolition of the shelter as it is well known as a crime hotspot for illegal and unruly behaviour.
"We have the same problem at the oval and we're being proactive and putting up shutters or grills,” Mr McDonald said.
"They could do the same here.”
A better site for The Living Museum would be at the aerodrome where the F-11 museum and Men's Shed are located, Mr McDonald said.
Evans Head Living Museum president Richard Gates said he was sympathetic to people's memories of the gazebo but the location was good for preserving the old schoolhouse and its more than 100-year old history.
"Half of our visitors come from Reflections,” Mr Gates said.
"The location has a lot of traffic. The aerodrome is too remote and isolated.”
The current site of the museum next to library will be the new location for the $6.3 million HealthOne facility.
Reflections Holiday Parks is in the second approval phase for a major foreshore upgrade which includes new shade structures near the kiosk.
A council representative said no vegetation would be removed.
"Reflections' proposed extension will provide triple the amount of seating options,” the representative said.
Julieanne Bugden: "It is not the OLD shed...it is a lunch pavilion. Stop trying to make Evans Head into something it will never be - a playground for the rich and famous. Stop trying to make your fortune off the places that mean so much to people from all walks of life. Just stop taking away people's memories of a better time and place, when life was made easy by the simple things like a camping area next to the river and lunch pavilions for the day trippers who couldn't leave their farms for weeks on end like the lucky town dwellers and do not spruik the word progress at me ... that is just another word "making money for those concerned”.
Japheth Cooper: "Please tell me they're not going to cut the trees next to it down as well. It is such a beautiful, shady spot to relax and have lunch on a sunny day”.
Leeanne Schmidt: "The building itself is a living museum, for god's sake leave it as part of the the new one”.
Eleni Wakely: "I love using the old shed. Sometimes it is a good place to eat your takeway lunch from the kiosk when its full and overflowing. The shed gives families a place to celebrate reunions, birthdays and other important celebrations. Surely, you can't expect granny and granddad to sit on the grass. It gives everyone a break from the sun bearing down and a safe haven when it decides to pour down. There will be none of this brilliant heritage remaining in towns if we just keep tearing down the old to make way for the new. Please don't demolish a vital part of our community. I'm so disappointed with this decision by our council. This weather shed has been the venue for so many including the annual picnic day for Essential Energy and previous power companies. I'm attending a reunion there on Saturday that has been held there annually for the past 30 years. It's a perfect venue with shade and picnic tables. I wonder if it will be replaced elsewhere for public use. Shame on council”.
Kim McClure:”It won't ruin the waterfront/riverside. Maybe they could incorporate the tourist/information centre as part of it. Everyone goes down there to see the river so make the most of it and use it as a way to promote our town and surrounding areas”.
Stephen Duncan: "Fit more campers in now”.
Gwyn Charlton: "No! So many memories there. It is part of a legend, just like Pippi Bill. I remember him going around that shed and eating everyone's leftover watermelon. It's practically the only thing left in Evans Head from the past. Leave it alone”.
John James Maloney: " sad no-one seems to care about our local heritage. My family has had so many events and gatherings there over the decades. Shame , shame, shame”.
Scott McKinnon: "Living museum should move to the airport museum”.