HOMEOWNERS on a riverfront street in Murwillumbah want Tweed Shire Council to stop painting an expensive mural on a concrete levee wall because they say it makes the area look like Nimbin.
“We just don't like it,” former Banana Festival secretary and office worker Sheraden Robins told Tweed Shire councillors last week when she addressed a community access session with neighbour Marcella Bosnich.
The two were speaking on behalf of Commercial Road residents who are aghast at the continuing $100,000 mural which is planned to stretch along the levee wall for 700 metres.
“A drive past the mural looks more like you're in the heart of Nimbin rather than Murwillumbah,” Ms Robbins said.
“Murwillumbah is a beautiful town with great natural beauty which we are very lucky to be able to enjoy on Commercial Road.
“For those of us fortunate enough to be able to see over the wall, the magnificent Tweed River is a lovely reminder of why we are so lucky to live here. The mural mars this view and serves only as an unwelcome distraction.”
The village of Nimbin, 45 minutes drive south-west of Murwillumbah, is known for its alternative and drug cultures as well as murals adorning old buildings along its main street.
Ms Robbins said painting the Murwillumbah mural also required half the road to be closed and “judging by the rate at which the painting has progressed over the past few months, it could be two to three years before the wall is completed”.
She said residents were also concerned that property values might be affected by the presence of the mural, and initial council consultation about it was held on a week day when most people were at work.
Even then residents were not given any indication on whether they had any say in it going ahead.
“We would like to suggest to the council that either the wall be kept clean, as it currently is, or a creeping vine be grown over the wall which would allow the wall to blend with the greenery of the riverbank,” Ms Robbins said.
The $100,000 “Treasures of the Tweed” mural, partly funded through a work-for-the-dole scheme, features rainforest and wildlife scenes.
It was suggested by former Tweed Shire Council administrator Max Boyd who, at the launch of the project last year, revealed he had been impressed by murals overseas.
Last year co-ordinating artist David Adams said the entire 700-metre mural would be developed in separate stages over three years, creating an iconic landmark which would “aesthetically enhance the levee bank wall”.