SA Water, Coorong council abandon Tailem Bend water tower mural plan

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

Tailem Bend's water tower will not be painted, SA Water has decided in the wake of a petition against the idea.

The Coorong council last week withdrew its support for a plan to paint a mural on the tower after receiving a petition signed by at least 376 locals, and possibly as many as 500.

The council will return $10,000 worth of grant funding it had been given for the project, which would have been used to employ a Ngarrindjeri artist in partnership with SA Water and Country Arts SA.

On Sunday, SA Water indicated it would do the same.

"Without demonstrated community support, we won't be proceeding with artwork on the Tailem Bend water tower," a spokeswoman told The Standard.

"In general, we're open to supporting art projects on our assets, where it's technically feasible and there is local community support and involvement."

"Our guidelines require concepts to celebrate the people, success or history of the local region, with a preference for water-related themes created by local artists, but don't allow for advertising or commercial marketing activities."

About 25 people in the gallery at the council's meeting last Tuesday had heard that the 80-year-old tower could still be painted without council involvement, and that Peregrine Corporation - owner of The Bend Motorsport Park - had been keen to see it happen.

Councillor Neville Jaensch expressed his continued support for council involvement in the mural project, based on his belief that "if we relinquish control, it will be a private artwork ... Peregrine will be there within a matter of weeks".

But the other seven councillors present argued that representing the will of the people was more important.

Petitioners Sandra Douglas and Don Green told councillors painting the water tower would clog nearby car parks, distract drivers and risk pedestrians' safety.

The main street was where another attraction was needed, they said, not the highway.

"I hope SA Water will take notice of the over 500 people who have signed the petition and go with their wishes not to paint the water tower, and not to use it for advertising," Ms Douglas said, to applause from the gallery.