Decision made on future of John Clark Memorial Bandstand

Published: Friday, 21 June 2019 at 8:44:51 AM

Shire of Denmark Council made the difficult decision this week to remove the John Clark Memorial Bandstand due to unaffordable costs associated with reinstating the structure.

The bandstand was deemed to be structurally unsafe last year and an engineer’s report was undertaken to inform the bandstand’s future. The report found it would cost around $100,000 to reinstate the bandstand, which Council said it could not afford.

Councillor Peter Caron acknowledged the impact the decision will have on some community members.

“Many community members will be angry and upset at the bandstand removal. As the Council delegate to Denmark Historical Society committee meetings, I have a good understanding of the value our community puts on its heritage assets.

However, it would be wasteful to spend time and money looking at alternate options that are not feasible. I do not want to raise community hopes that we could restore, only to dash those hopes at a later date. It is already clear that removal of the structure is the only solution that does not unfairly burden the ratepayer,” he said.

Councillor Ian Osborne, a former member of the John Clark Memorial Silver Band who played the opening concert in 1964 said while he recognises and respects the history and memories of those who played there, the expense in reinstating the bandstand is too great.

“We are behind in maintenance of our total assets – roads, halls, bridges. I believe spending $100,000 trying to repair this one asset is not supportable.”

Shire CEO Bill Parker said the decision by Council only reinforces the work the Shire is currently doing on vastly improving the way it manages and maintains its assets into the future.

“The Shire has assets that have historically been neglected and have deteriorated beyond an acceptable level, and Council will need to make some tough decisions over the next few years. The Shire’s Asset Management Plan will be presented to Council over the coming months and responds to the challenges we are currently facing.

I am hopeful that a robust Plan supported by sufficient investment will alleviate future Councils being put in this difficult position,” he said.

Shire staff will work with the Denmark Historical Society to determine if sections of the removed structure can be installed or used at the Denmark Historical Society museum, the Historical Railway Precinct, or other suitable location.

Relating to the bandstand decision, Council also endorsed the Recreational Power Boat and Foreshore Usage Study 2017, which assesses the feasibility of recreational boating along the Denmark River.

The endorsement opens the possibility of receiving state and federal funding for further development at the Riverside Club precinct, of which the bandstand is a part of. 

The concept for the area includes a floating pontoon and public shelter. It is envisaged that the concept for the shelter would draw from the original bandstand’s design, its history, and include aboriginal interpretation in its design and content.

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