A West Gosford woman hopes the proposal to install a giant pelican statue at The Entrance will continue to gain traction.
The proposal, which was put to Central Coast Council by Councillor Bruce McLachlan and passed on September 9, is similar to one submitted to Wyong Shire Council by former resident, Larene O’Neill, more than 10 years ago.
O’Neill said she originally submitted a concept plan for a giant pelican to be erected at one of four locations (The Entrance, North Entrance, Canton Beach, Gorokan) around the Tuggerah Lakes in 2007, when she was living in the area.
That plan earnt her an invitation to deliver a fully realised proposal and presentation to the then Wyong Shire Council, headed by Mayor, Warren Welham, in the following year.
But despite an initially positive reception, the project was binned for legal reasons.
It’s understood by O’Neill that Council had begun its own investigations into the logistics of the proposal when they were threatened with legal action by the owners of the Big Pelican in Noosaville, Queensland.
This has left her wondering how the current proposal will fare.
“I’m hopeful the project will take off.
“It seems to mirror what I wanted to achieve and there’s no doubt in my mind that the project will be a major tourism boost for the Coast,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said prior to learning of Cr McLachlan’s proposal, the two had never met nor spoken about the Big Pelican, but she had no doubt that he, or someone who worked with him on his motionl, was aware of her original proposal.
Since learning of the new proposal, she’s sent her original concept plan and Wyong Shire Council presentation to Cr McLachlan, Mayor Jane Smith, Deputy Mayor Chris Holstein and the other The Entrance Ward Councillors, with the hope that the comprehensive planning detailed in her original proposal will help inform the project moving forward.
O’Neill’s proposal was even more ambitious than Cr McLachlan’s, calling on Council to install not only the world’s biggest pelican, but the world’s biggest icon.
“The plan was to have the world’s biggest icon right here on the Central Coast.
“If you look at all of Australia’s ‘Big Things’, they are all around 14-16m tall, but my proposal was for a 20m tall pelican that mimicked the picturesque environment of Tuggerah Lakes.
“This would have secured two world records (at the time) and given the Northern Central Coast its own ‘Big Thing’, whilst simultaneously promoting the Coast and attracting new tourism to the region,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill said she was never informed by the then Wyong Shire Council what exact legal threats were involved in the scrapping of her proposal in 2008, but since then, she’s learned that another big pelican was erected elsewhere in the State in 2015 and that made her hopeful for the proposal this time around.
“It’s very exciting to think that after almost 13 years, the Coast could finally get its own big pelican,” she said.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to remind Central Coast Council that an in depth, fully realised proposal, including methodology, a strategic plan and community consultation is readily available in the form of my original proposal should they move ahead with Bruce McLachlan’s proposal.
“In its own way, it’s like all the work I did back then is coming to fruition.”
Documents and interview, Sep 9
Larene O’Neill, The Big Pelican (2008)
Larene O’Neill, West Gosford
Dilon Luke, Journalist