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Council votes to tip more money into Lords Place south makeover during heated debate

September 19, 2023

The huge plastic pot plants will be decorated. Copyright: orange News Examiner.

By David Fitzsimons

A call for Orange’s controversial Lord Place South redevelopment to be ripped up was ruled out of order during a heated council debate on Tuesday night.

Instead it took the casting vote of deputy mayor Gerald Power, acting as the council head in the health-related absence of mayor Jason Hamling, to support more funding for the area.

Councillors were tied five-all in support of spending thousands of dollars to encourage local primary schools and local Indigenous artists to create designs for painting the 22 large plastic plant pots in the area.

Councillor Power, who had already spoken in support of the pot plant plan, then used his casting vote to back it.

“I do think it’s a fantastic idea,” he said.

Councillor Jeff Whitton called for council to abandon the entire project and return Lords Place South to the state it was in, with extra parking places, before the changes were made, starting in August 2022.

He said the project had failed and local businesses were opposed to it.

However, he was ruled out of order.

After the vote was taken Whitton again sought to raise a motion for the project abandonment but was ruled out of order for a second time.

“It’s been a failure and the businesses in that street are begging us to fix it,” he said.

It is expected that motion will be brought to the next council meeting.

Council was told staff resources to promote and facilitate the design challenge would cost about $2,000. The production and installation of the vinyl wraps on each pot plant would be an additional cost.

“Financial cost of producing and installing the adhesive wrap is estimated to be $300 in graphics work for each design used to turn into a digital product and approximately $170 per pot. There are 22 pots in total. Any works would be funded by the Future Cities budget,” a staff report said.

Councillor Melanie McDonell, who proposed the plan, said the pot plant decoration would help boost the attraction of the area to diners.

“We want people to hang out there,” she said.

Councillor Tony Mileto said he was concerned that local Indigenous artists were being offered a role in the project only after primary schools.

However, McDonell said there would be about an equal number of pots available to both groups.

Councillor Frances Kinghorne said Lords Place South was not a great background for such art.

“It will just cause visual discord and will just be confusing,” she said.

The plan was backed by councillor David Mallard, but he added that changes were needed, particularly with the ground painting and parking spaces.

“We’re just getting into spring and we’re gonna see people making more use of the available space there and narrowing the space so it’s not just all about cars,” he said.

Councillor Glenn Floyd - who told The Orange News Examiner on Saturday that he wanted Lords Place to revert to what it was before - supported the painting project saying work was needed to brighten the space.

“I think it looks dull and dreary,” he said.

Later in the meeting a bid to rename Leeds Parade to Charles Sturt University as University Way found no support from councillors and was rejected.

And $2,500 funding will be provided for a monthly men’s community health BBQ in Cook Park hosted by state MP Phil Donato.

Mr Donato spoke to the council online, after several technical hiccups, stating he had not sought the funding, and there was no political gain for him in it being provided.

The funding request was made by the organisers, the Mr Perfect charity.

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