Bayswater Council rejects D’Orazio memorial in favour of Riverside Gardens tree

Bayswater Council rejects D’Orazio memorial in favour of Riverside Gardens tree

THE late John D’Orazio is likely to be honoured by a seat and tree in Riverside Gardens after Bayswater Council rejected a $40,000 memorial bronze coin pedestal and seating design.

City officers recommended the council accept artist Richard Fry’s design submission as a way to honour the former Bayswater mayor and State MLA’s contribution to the community.

The memorial has been on the cards since December 2014, but was delayed due to the proposed subdivision Skipper’s Row, which was owned by the D’Orazio family, and the adjoining Carter’s land.

The officer’s report stated the project’s delay was due to “significant political, community and media attention in relation to the land’s proximity, the indirect association with the Eric Singleton Bird Sanctuary and related wetlands issues”.

“Given the sensitivities at the time, it was considered prudent that any actions to progress the John D’Orazio commemorative memorial project be deferred until resolution,” the report stated . “The family were supportive of this deferral”.

Mayor Barry McKenna successfully put forward an alternate motion that council not accept the artist’s offer but instead install a significant tree and seat, and liaised with the family on the wording.

Cr McKenna said he knew Mr D’Orazio very well and a tree of significance was “far better” to honour someone who helped establish Riverside Gardens.

He said the memorial would be simple, elegant and powerful, “moving away from a $40,000 stone monolith (like) in King’s Park”.

Cr Stephanie Coates, who voted against the memorial previously, said a seat and tree was much better than what was previously on the table.

Cr Chris Cornish said the D’Orazio family had been “somewhat shabbily treated”, if council was now going in a “totally different angle.”

He said while he had never voted against planting a tree, the council should not shy away from benches and interesting art pieces.

Cr Sally Palmer said a three-seater not good enough.

“We don’t want a bus seat on the river,” she said.

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