By Darren Coyne
Is this a sign of the times?
Just days after re-electing a National party representative, Lismore’s councillors are being asked to decide the fate of an anti-coal seam gas banner that graces the roof of a house in Ballina Road.
The banner – which features the message “87% Voted No to CSG” – was painted by street artist Justin Livingston just over three years ago, and then repainted after being damaged in a storm.
But following a request from councillor Mathew Scheibel in September last year, council compliance officers were asked to investigate the legalities of the Ballina Road banner, and another on a farm shed on Nimbin road.
Cr Scheibel again raised the issue on 10 March, just prior to the state election, pointing out that National’s candidate Thomas George was directed to remove his sign from a building in Ballina Road.
‘I see that the ‘No CSG’ roof sign is still on the house in Ballina Road (near Bruxner Crescent),’ he wrote.
In a letter to the council’s compliance manager Peter Jeuken, the tenant of the house, Jenny Luenig, explained why she had commissioned the sign.
Ms Luenig said she had attended an anti-CSG meeting at the Lismore Workers Club in March, 2012, and had come away wanting to do something to ‘show my dislike of the filthy CSG industry’.
With the house owner’s permission, she commissioned the mural.
‘I must admit that it didn’t even occur to me to contact Council because I had the owner’s permission,’ she wrote.
‘I hate the thought of having to take the sign down because one person has complained but am willing to do if that is Council’s decision.
‘I have also assured the owner that I would reimburse him if he incurred any costs. In return, he has reassured me that I have his full support in putting in this submission.
Ms Leunig said she had been a resident of the northern rivers for 41 years and ‘absolutely love our beautiful area and the banner represents my fight against an industry that our local Council doesn’t want either’.
‘I hope Council can look on it as a work of art that is my gift to the 87 per cent of our community who are against CSG.’
When the councillors meet next Tuesday, they must decide whether to remove the sign, issue a fine, or let Ms Leunig’s ‘gift’ remain in place.