The Gazette conducted an online poll asking the question what would you prefer, the art installation, 24/7 police presence or both.
A whopping 78 per cent of respondents said they wanted 24/7 police presence in the town, 17 per cent wanted both the art and a full-time police presence and just over five per cent wanted the art installation.
Facebook comments made were unambiguous.
From Sally Burns: “What a total waste of money in an economic crisis – pathetic… We have a wonderful high school surely they could do something fabulous.’’
Tammy Fenton: “And we can’t even get any money for a grandstand for the footy oval.’’
David Hepburn: “We need police presence and regular police patrol at night. “Too late when they have to come from Bridgewater. I would like to invite them to come and look at the road outside my house that happens of a night.’’
Vicki Ackerly: “Really , what a silly idea . We need more police and a 24/7 police presence , this town is growing and has more issues every week that need addressing, not some pretty little art work sitting on the front lawn . Who on earth suggested this waste of taxpayers’ money’’
Raelyn Williams: “Omg what a waste of money, police not artworks.’’
Michelle A Burdon: “Why don’t they give the local graffiti artists some paint and say go for it! 42 grand is ridiculous and will most likely be graffitied anyway.’’
Greg Wheatley: “Going by the article it will be free standing on the grassed area, so it will probably be vandalised or stolen. It’s just ridiculous.’’
And this, from Nick Rayner: “Is this even a valid question? Firstly, it’s obvious what the majority would prefer, that’s a no brainer. Secondly, capital works and operational budgeting I’m pretty sure don’t come from the same bucket. So I’m not really sure what the survey is attempting to prove? The obvious? From my understanding State Government building projects policy states two per cent of pre-tender estimates must be allocated to art. (For projects over $250k and art capped at $80k). So I guess that’s where the $42k comes in.’’
Both the Government and Opposition support the public art program, but they differ on policing hours at New Norfolk.
New Norfolk does not have a police presence based in the area 24/7.
Derwent Labor MLC Craig Farrell said last week 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.