Orange councillor offers to pay for Banjo hat

ORANGE councillor Chris Gryllis is putting his money where his mouth is and offering to pay for the controversial Banjo Paterson hat pergola out of his own pocket.

But he will only do it if he has the support of Cr Reg Kidd who challenged Cr Gryllis, in front of ABC television cameras, to fund the project himself. 

“I will underwrite the cost of the hat and I will attempt to raise the money from friends and business associates but if I don’t raise the money I will pay for it all myself, I will pay for the lot,” Cr Gryllis said. 

The stoush between councillors about the $37,840 Akubra-styled, hat-shaped pergola to be built near the restored Emmavile cottage at the adventure playground has been going on since April. Cr Gryllis, Cr Ron Gander and Cr Kevin Duffy were the only ones who supported the project at last week’s council meeting. 

After 29 submissions against the project and only one for it were received by council the hat was voted down, while ABC filmed the meeting for an upcoming series that will incorporate the Emmaville cottage restoration. 

However, Cr Kidd told the Central Western Daily he would not support the hat pergola because the contention surrounding it was not about the cost but a “crass” design.

“It will makes us look like yobbos,” he said.

“The response is overwhelming that people don’t like it.”

HATS OFF FOR BANJO

BANJO PERGOLA OLD HAT

But Cr Gryllis does not believe the public were against the proposal because of the design, which he commissioned himself. He said he did not do as much campaigning for the project as he should have. 

“We are quite happy with the design so that the hat will be what appears on the $10 note,” he said. 

“I wasn’t as pro-active to get support through the media and through council.”

The cost of work required to prepare the site, the barbecue area, seating and commission is about $25,000, while the cost for the design is $12,840. 

Cr Kidd said it was a great gesture from Cr Gryllis but he should keep his money and council should look at instead putting up shade sails around the city. 

“The design [for the hat] was Colorbond, a big hat made of Colorbond, the impracticality of it ... it won’t provide much shade and it will get blisteringly hot,” Cr Kidd said.

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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