Councillor Lindsay Ellis (Coryule ward) has told members of the Clifton Springs fountain working group that councillors will consider the fountain's future as part of the negotiations leading to the council's 2013/14 budget. He added that a report on the fountain's condition - and an estimate of the cost of refurbishing it - is due from council officers on 23 April.
Cr Ellis emphasized that at this stage in the council's budget process, he couldn't guarantee that the council would commit any funds to the fountain, let alone any specific figure. However, at last the fountain's future is 'on the radar' as the council develops policies to fund the maintenance of such 'public art' across Geelong.
Doing something new .... in keeping with the old
In response, the members of the fountain working group emphasized that local people want something done about the fountain's continuing deterioration. They feel that it has been neglected for far too long and they’re concerned not just because it is becoming an eyesore but because they are genuinely fond of it and want this piece of public art to become once more something of which they can be proud and from which they can gain pleasure.
A public meeting on March 12 about the fountain's future expressed broad support for renovating the structure and including a major glass structure (e.g. an abstract ‘sculpture’). A much smaller amount of water would flow over the structure in an enclosed (i.e. non-evaporative) system featuring signs and symbols of the area’s past and possible futures. This would link the fountain with some of the public art at The Dell; it would evoke the time when mineral water was exported from Clifton Springs in torpedo-shaped glass bottles; and it would celebrate the growing reputation of Drysdale/Clifton Springs as a centre of glass-related art, craft and industry through the impacts of the annual Festival of Glass.
A fountain reflecting local people's wishes
Members of the fountain working group - which includes representation from the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association - are doing background investigations into various aspects of the fountain, prior to presenting some options for its future to a second public meeting. They are determined that the fountain should be renovated in a way that reflects - as far as possible - local people’s values, ideals and hopes for their future; and are keen to work with councillors and officers to that end.