City of Coffs Harbour says memorial plaques will not be removed from Bonville Lookout

Sweeping views and well-maintained paths and facilities attract locals and tourists to Bonville Lookout, and the dozen or so memorial plaques scattered across the rocks add to the charm.

LIKE most Council areas in Australia, City of Coffs Harbour has strong policies and planning guidelines for commemorative and memorial plaques on public land.

Public open space areas are an important community resource, so memorials, monuments and plaques need to be considered carefully to ensure they don’t have an adverse effect on these spaces.

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In keeping with its guidelines, City of Coffs Harbour has recently reviewed the memorial plaques attached to rocks on Bonville Lookout at Sawtell.

There are just a handful of these plaques scattered across the headland with some of them having been there a long time and now considered part of local history as well as a distinctive feature – at least one dates back to early last century, commemorating a young soldier killed in France in 1917 during the First World War.

Flowers are often tucked into the rocks alongside a couple of the plaques and are clearly visible from the path.

A number of local residents who walk the headland regularly were surprised to learn of the review and concerned to hear that the memorial plaques at the lookout may be under consideration for removal.

Many locals see the plaques as part of the character and heritage of the area offering a sense of shared community.

Since they are small, well maintained, not easily accessible and no danger at all to the public, they wondered what benefit their removal could have.

Happily, their worries turned out to be unfounded.

This week, a spokesperson for the City of Coffs Harbour advised, “The Reserve Naming and Memorial Policy adopted by City of Coffs Harbour Council on 23 March 2023 remains unchanged from the previous version in 2020.

“It includes a detailed and sensitive process and approach to the removal of plaques which includes community and stakeholder consultation.

“No action is being taken to remove plaques at Bonville Lookout at this time.”


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