Art before more cops

THE State Government will spend $42,000 on an original artwork to be installed outside the new New Norfolk police station, which is under construction.

Meanwhile, New Norfolk does not have a 24/7 police presence and there is no funding for additional officers based at the station.

Tenders have been called for a 3D artwork to be placed at the front of the new building on a grassed area which will be a gathering point for the community and visitors to the station.

The tender says the “prominent nature of the site, outside the walls of the station, provides an opportunity to portray the relationship between the Tasmania Police and the community’’.

“Tasmania Police has played an important role in the history of the Derwent Valley since colonial settlement, with a number of smaller police stations in outlying communities, and a main station based in New Norfolk.

“To better meet the needs of the community, a new police station is now being constructed in New Norfolk.

“The prominent nature of the site will mean that the artwork will become part of the streetscape and identity of New Norfolk.’’

“The site faces the Council Chambers building at the western end of High Street, which is fronted by a war memorial sculpture.

Potentially this provides an opportunity to create a visual conversation between the two works of public art, running alongside the town square.

“The artwork should be very low maintenance and should have a lifespan of at least 15 years.”

“Consideration must be given to the fact that the artwork will be in the public domain and may, therefore, be subject to climatic conditions, vandalism and wear and tear.’’

The Government and Opposition support the public art program, but they differ on policing hours at New Norfolk. Derwent Labor MLC Craig Farrell said he supported the public art program.

“The public art program is good. It’s about one per cent of the total cost (of the building) and having been on the Public Works Committee I have seen the positive impact art has had on public buildings,’’ Mr Farrell said.

“The real issue is not the addition of art but the non-addition of police officers.’’

A Government spokesperson said the Bridgewater Division covered the New Norfolk area and provided 24- hour policing.

“When New Norfolk members conclude duty or require additional resources, they are supported by police from Bridgewater Station, which operates 24/7 and has six sergeants and 33 constables.”

The art program started in 1979, and to date the scheme has delivered more than 1000 commissions.

Construction of the new $5 million New Norfolk Police Station on Bathurst Street started last year and is due to be completed by the end of this year.

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