Central Coast Council removes sculpture from Scrabble, sparking war of words with locals

Central Coast Council’s decision to decommission a large Scrabble sculpture has been met with opposition from the community.

The artwork, which was unveiled at Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea in 2008, has been exhibited around the world and has been on the Central Coast foreshore since the council purchased it in 2016.

The council said a contractor had assessed the damage to the sculpture and confirmed it was a safety risk.

“The letters in the sculpture are cracked and chipped and may fall off if pushed,” the council said.

The sculpture provided a good photo opportunity for locals and visitors.(Provided: Shery Stinton)

War of words

David Dworjanyn started a petition asking council to start listening to ratepayers and bring the sculpture back.

A sign on a beach explaining why a beloved sculpture is no longer there.
The council replaced the sculpture with a sign explaining why it was removed.(Facebook: I love Tascott)

“I see no danger of a tile falling on my head,” Mr Dworjanyn said.

“The cement tiles – it’s fixable for less than the cost it would have cost the city council to remove it and dispose of it.

“It goes beyond the belief that it’s gone – it goes against community norms and what the community wants.

“I don’t understand and I don’t think anyone in the community understands.”

Another resident, Joy Cooper, said the council should read its own cultural plan.

“One of the points is that the artistic and cultural experience is essential to the well-being of our community,” said Ms. Cooper.

Others rewrote John Lennon’s Imagine as an ode to the vanquished artwork:

Imagine there is no sculpture
It’s easy if you try
Too busy asking for IPART
To dry our pockets
-Luke Stevenson

Imagine the sculpture removed
The Imagine Scrabble sculpture was exhibited at Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea in 2008 and purchased by the council in 2016.(Instagram: emmaannawordplay)

End of an “economic life”?

But others defended the council.

“Most assets have an economic life beyond which it makes no sense to keep them,” Kevin Armstrong wrote on Facebook.

“This applies to public buildings, private homes, vehicles, construction equipment and many other assets.

In a statement, the council said that “the artist, Emma Anna, understands that the artwork is now a safety issue and has agreed to decommission the artwork”.

“She always considered that the materials used would have a short lifespan,” the statement said.

Asked about the issue on ABC Central Coast on Friday morning, council leader David Farmer said it was the first he had heard of it.

With additional reporting by Emma Simkin, Caroline Perryman and Scott Levi

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