Any way to drive people into central Maitland using the city’s heritage is worth a shot, Maitland Business Chamber president Steve Thomson says.
The Mercury has had a close look at Maitland City Council’s Interpretation Master Plan this week.
The plan is a collection of innovative ideas to revitalise the heart of Maitland.
They include interactive heritage walks that incorporate social media and smart phones, bringing the city’s laneways to life by creating illusions of forests and floods, and an interactive celebration of Maitland’s heroic citizens and infamous villains using public art installations.
But the idea that caught Mr Thomson’s eye the most was the bullock statues proposed for The Levee, based on the brass pigs that have been popular with tourists in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall since 1999.
“The bullocks in the mall are a fantastic idea,” he said.
“Anything that puts attention on Maitland for the right reasons is a good thing, whether it’s a heritage walkway through central Maitland or lighting the facades of the older buildings at night so people can see them.
“Any chance to link the history of the city, the better.”
Mr Thomson said concern from some retailers that public art installations and other attractions could draw vandalism was valid.
But he said measures such as CCTV cameras could be used to minimise the risk.
“We can choose to do nothing, but we will just get the same result as always,” he said.
“The danger is that we don’t do anything. People need to be a bit brave.
“There is a risk it won’t have the desired effect and there is a risk that some parts of the community will be alienated because they don’t agree with what they are doing.
“But without the risk there is no reward.”
The master plan is on public exhibition and council wants as much feedback from the community as possible.
Visit www.maitlandyoursay.com.au to look at the plan and make a comment.