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Byron Shire
September 21, 2023

Rainbow-bridge decision shows callous disregard

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I am disappointed in Tweed Shire Council staff’s recommendation to repaint the Kyogle Road bridge over Smiths Creek at Uki which was painted in rainbow colours in honour of a child who died two years ago.

In spite of a large survey response from the local community, council has disregarded the community’s wishes.

Over 70 per cent of respondents said leave the rainbow coloured bridge as is and only 22 per cent wanted it repainted, yet council regarded this smaller percentage as ‘significant’ (as if 70 per cent was not significant).

Council has a ‘zero tolerance for graffiti vandalism’. In the agenda notes to the March 2015 council meeting it also states ‘there is little or no connection between a bridge railing and the death of the child.’ Hello? Have they not heard of the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ connecting this world to the next? Are they lacking imagination or just plain uninformed?

While the bridge is regarded as council infrastructure, it’s paid for by the ratepayers so therefore it should be our bridge. Why not keep it as is and add a plaque dedicating the Rainbow Bridge to all local children who have died?

Why must we fit inside council’s definition of acceptable memorial tributes such as roadside flowers or crosses?

Council appears to be afraid that left as it is, it would set a precedent for other bridges to be painted in rainbow colours. So what? Does that necessarily make Uki another Nimbin?

As for council’s concern that this bridge might cause division in the community did they forget the extreme division the World Rally Championship of 2009 caused, all because council actively supported, encouraged and enabled it to happen? Concern for division was not a factor to them then, so why now?

Council has demonstrated callous disregard for the people’s wishes on a highly sensitive topic – the death of a child that in fact united many of us in the community.

It’s also telling that all councillors bar one voted for the bridge to be repainted in time. Kudos to Mayor Bagnall for standing up for the people’s wishes. The others hang your heads in shame.

Those unhappy about this decision please write to council and complain – alternatively organise a big protest and send photos to the media.

Menkit Prince, Uki

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