A Sydney council will make Coogee Beach’s giant rainbow walkway permanent but some councillors want community consultation because the installation “is a political statement”.
The 47 metre curved walkway was installed at the steps of Coogee’s lower promenade ahead of Mardi Gras season in February this year.
Since then, the walkway has become a Instagram-ready landmark for beachgoers and has been listed on Google Maps.
Randwick Mayor Danny Said supported making the rainbow permanent at a recent meeting, the Daily Telegraph reported. The council voted unanimously in favour.
He said the installation celebrates the council’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The walkway also provided “a bit of joy” during the pandemic, he said.
“It was only built to be temporary. But it’s actually built to last and I think it’d be a waste of time and money to remove it,” he said.
The arched rainbow is made of specialist floor paint made to withstand the sun, sand, salt of the beachside environment.
Councillors call for community consultation
However Councillor Anthony Andrews said public feedback should be held before the council commits to making it permanent.
“It’s a dangerous precedent we’re setting to say, let’s go paint something blue or yellow and not consult with our community,” he said.
Councillor Christine Hamilton said council should “hear all voices” because the rainbow was a “political statement”.
“I’m in favour but I do also recognise there are people in the community who would like to have a say in such a public space,” she said.
“This is not just a pearl shell opening with a turtle sitting on top of it on a concrete pathway. This is political statement.”
However Councillor Philipa Veitch argued it “would become a divisive issue if this would be taken to consultation.”
“Because it wouldn’t be a consultation about a painted footpath or step. It would de facto become a consultation for support for the LGBTIQ community. It may turn that way,” she said.
“I agree that on most occasions we do need to consult with the community [on] projects.
“But there’s also a place for Council and councillors to step up and say we support diverse members of our community.”
Coogee beach rainbow joins other landmarks across Sydney
Coogee Chamber of Commerce vice president Jo O’Brien rejected suggestions the rainbow was “pushing an agenda”.
“Little things like this [in] our community will make our young people and adults all feel included,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
“Being a visual rather than a conservation and announcement is important.
“It’s a great thing for businesses to hop on board with. It’s a great addition to our suburb.”
Other Sydney rainbow installations include a 90 metre footpath at Prince Alfred Park in Surry Hills earlier this year.
In 2019, the City of Sydney officially unveiled the curved rainbow pedestrian crossing at Taylor Square in Darlinghurst.
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