National

Sculpture by the Sea calls path ‘disaster’

By AAP Newswire

Organisers of Sydney's Sculpture by the Sea event claim a new footpath being built within the exhibition area could lead to the art festival's "slow and painful death".

Founding director David Handley has threatened to pull the event from Bondi because of a planned 279m concrete footpath aimed at improving disability access around Marks Park.

The art festival on the coastal walk between Bondi and Tamarama attracts nearly half a million people every spring.

Mr Handley claims that, while a noble goal, the path would take out eight of the 10 prime spots that give the event its "wow" factor and would lead to the festival's "very slow and painful death".'

But People with Disability Australia argues artwork shouldn't override the accessibility needs of a local community.

The group's senior policy officer Samantha French said that if the path is the result of consultation with the community, it should be given the higher priority.

"If that means moving art sculptures to a different locale, then that may need to happen," Ms French said.

Mr Handley warned it would likely be the last Sculpture by the Sea event at Bondi if work on the path proceeds.

More than 180 artists from 24 countries had written to the local council to oppose the path, describing it as an "international cultural disaster", Mr Handley added.

Waverley Council said it was surprised by the suggestion the event, which it has supported for 23 years, would be jeopardised by an accessible path.