Bigge Park music shell demolished despite protest

Bigge Park's music shell was demolished on Monday. Picture: Ashleigh Milton
Bigge Park's music shell was demolished on Monday. Picture: Ashleigh Milton

THE music shell in Bigge Park — which had become the centre of a growing homelessness problem in Liverpool — was knocked down by Liverpool Council on Monday.

The shell was removed as it did not fit in with the new plan for Bigge Park, which is a project in the council's Building Our New City program.

The Alex Grimson Memorial Music Shell when it was erected in 1974. Picture: Liverpool Library

The Alex Grimson Memorial Music Shell when it was erected in 1974. Picture: Liverpool Library

The United Services Union led a community rally just days before the shell's demolition and claimed the council had taken an "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" approach to the problem.

Liverpool resident Melissa Coros said up until the week before Anzac Day this year, there was a large contingent of homeless people living in the shell stage in Bigge Park.

"In preparation for the council's Anzac Day festivities the mayor had the homeless people removed and sealed up the stage so they couldn't return," she said.

"At least some of the displaced people, men and women, are now staying in the concrete stairwells of a parking garage."

Left: Picture taken of the shell in Bigge Park in July 2014. Right: Picture taken after council commission artists to create a commemorative Anzac Day mural in April, 2015.

Left: Picture taken of the shell in Bigge Park in July 2014. Right: Picture taken after council commission artists to create a commemorative Anzac Day mural in April, 2015.

A non-profit community organisation has backed up the council saying the council's "engagement in assisting the homeless" can clearly be seen in the community.

Inspire Community Services administrations manager Lucia Degnan said the organisation had been working with the council for several years and Inspire was "proud to partner with the council on programs which definitely make a mark for the better on the community".

After the Bigge Park rally, the union published a flyer encouraging the community to attend another rally outside the council's Mayoral Ball on Saturday.

USU protest flyer for Liverpool Council Mayoral Ball 2015

USU protest flyer for Liverpool Council Mayoral Ball 2015

The council described recent the flyer as "offensive and opportunistic" because it featured a promotional photo of the event that displayed a disabled person and a recovering brain-injury patient.

Though the picture was later removed by the union, the council chief executive Carl Wulff said protesting at a charity event was very poor form.

"Using images of the recipients from our chosen charities for this year's Mayoral Ball - a night whose sole purpose is to raise funds and celebrate the important work of our local charities — is disgraceful," he said.

"If the union or the staff has an issue then my door is open.

"But using this event and the vulnerable people we're helping is despicable."

Protest rally in front of Liverpool Council Mayoral Ball

Protest rally in front of Liverpool Council Mayoral Ball

United Services Union's Graeme Kelly said staff and the public protested at the ball, in response to a refusal by the council to properly consult

"During the protest, we made clear our demonstration was not an attack on ShareCare or Liverpool Hospital and that their community service is of exceptional standard," he said.

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