Plea to keep picnic table on site

It's a community row that has triggered passion on both sides - art versus a picnic table.

The fate of the table remains uncertain as concerned residents ask the Mosgiel Taieri Community Board to leave it be.

Campbell Shaw, of Mosgiel, asked the board at its last meeting to keep the picnic table on the corner of Gordon and Factory Rds.

At the previous board meeting, the board agreed the picnic table be removed entirely from the site and the sculpture be fully reinstated.

The Beech Leaf Stepping Stones sculpture, by German-born artist Siegfried Koglmeier, was installed in 1996.

Its leaf-shaped concrete paving stones were designed to reference a nearby beech tree.

However, members of the art community, including the Otago Sculpture Trust, responded angrily early this year after a picnic table was installed on the site - under the direction of the community board - and some paving stones removed.

The board has asked the community for ideas on where to relocate the table.

Board deputy chairman Mark Willis has been approached by two organisations with suggestions and another organisation wanting the table to remain.

Mr Shaw said the picnic table could co-exist with the sculpture if the missing parts were reinstated.

The picnic table was well used and it staying on site would not spoil the fallen-beech-leaf sculpture.

''It's people friendly and attractive, a true community asset.''

He wanted the community board to poll Mosgiel residents on the table location and expected most residents would want the picnic table to remain on site.

Mr Shaw was a volunteer who helped build and install the table but said he was not speaking on behalf of the volunteer group, but as a concerned citizen.

Councillor Kate Wilson said the board wanted the missing sculpture pieces to be reinstated and the picnic table to be moved, either on or off site, and a decision would be made at the next board meeting on Tuesday.

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