The Town Green foreshore, west of the breakwall, is a no-go zone for rock painting.
The number of painted rocks along the Town Green foreshore jumped from three to more than 20 in three weeks.
That prompted Port Macquarie-Hastings Council to take action in recognition of the importance of maintaining the Town Green and immediate surrounds as a prime public space.
The council banned the painting of rocks on the Town Green foreshore, west of the breakwall, effective immediately. The decision was unanimous.
The ban only applies to the Town Green foreshore and has no impact on the long-held tradition of painted rocks along the breakwall.
Cr Geoff Hawkins said public feedback indicated it would be unfortunate if the Town Green upgrade work was spoilt by painted rocks.
“It became very clear that we needed to move quickly and it also became clear there was a consensus among councillors of varying degrees of intensity,” Cr Hawkins said.
The Town Green upgrade included 2500 tonnes of rock to protect the foreshore.
The project also featured a five-metre wide path along the foreshore, lights, seats, landscaping, irrigation systems and new turf.
Cr Hawkins says the Town Green is in a pristine condition, so let’s look after it.
“A lot of care has been taken and an enormous amount of thought put into the design so it’s beautiful and functional,” Cr Hawkins said.
“It should be as tranquil and as peaceful and as beautiful as the designers expected when they created it.”
The council will put up signs and take steps to remove or mask any existing or future painting on rocks on the Town Green foreshore, west of the breakwall.
Cr Hawkins remains supportive of the rock painting tradition along the breakwall.
“If this is something you want to do, there are plenty of other rocks and go to your hearts’ content,” Cr Hawkins said about the breakwall area.
Mayor Peta Pinson said painted rocks went back to the history of the breakwall, but we had a new future in our Town Green, and the council wanted to delineate the two.
“We want our foreshore in that [Town Green] area to remain pristine, hence the reason for the resolution of council,” Cr Pinson said.
“I think by painting over [Town Green] rocks that are painted upon, by covering that up, it will be a deterrent and people will realise their artwork will be lost.”
The council will create and implement a media and communications strategy as a result of the decision.
Meanwhile, Cr Hawkins said the council wanted the community to love the Town Green, to nurture it and keep an eye on it.
“We want people to be happy and to be proud of it,” he said.
“It is one of the most prime of our prime public spaces, so let’s keep it that way.”