The THBOA Sign

A Bit of History,

A current sign was erected at the highway intersection with Hector McWilliam Drive by the then THBOA in July 2004 replacing the old sign that has fallen into disrepair thatb replaced the previous sign and the sign before that.

From the 1960's onwards there has always been a sign at this location that promoted Tuross Head and community activity.

Originally the sign indicated some local shops and also advised of Bushfire risk. The Bushfire advisory was moved to the Evans Road Shops and several variations of promotion of Tuross buisnesses remained. Council has never advised removing the sign even though it was on their road reserve and whilst the sign has no "owner" it has remained in place in its many forms for several decades.

It has always been understood that the sign remains at Council's discretion and can be removed by them at any point.

The new 2004 sign was erected in two parts - the first that replaced the old sign faced on to approaching traffic and the second newer panel was placed parallel and adjacent to the fence line.

The cost of erecting the sign came from a donation of membership fees placed by the then THBOA members who placed their panels.

The membership fee covered the cost of manufacturing and erecting the sign and through membership of the THBOA allowed members to add their own panels.

The members paid $100 each "entry fee" for the right to add their panels

The panels were to remain the responsibility of each member and needed to be a set size.

Any repair to the member panels would also be at members cost

A panel could only be displayed by a contributing THBOA member.

The Town Map was painted by Nick Summers in Sept 2005 (41.5 hours @ $30 per hr)

Feb 1st 2011 revealed that the sign had no official Council approval and that no development consent had been sought for its erection. A question of its being able to remain "unapproved" was raised to ensure that the advertisers on the sign were not exposed to any litigation as a consequence of their being "related" to the community sign

Councillor Keith Dance spoke with Paul Anderson (Gen Manager of Council) and Paul stated "Don't touch the sign" as he viewed it as a community sign as it has been there for so many years as per investigations.

The following are observations regarding the history of the sign

The sign does not need to be moved as it has "always" been there - for the previous 20 or more years there had been a variety of signs there owned by "the community" that provided a street map and community information. In time they fell into disrepair and the last one standing was replaced in 2004 with the then THBOA at the time collecting monies to refurbish it - at exactly the same location however they did make it a larger, more robust and added an additional panel...

By rights it is still as it was.... a community sign that provides a street map - much like a Grandfathers axe that has seen replacement of its head and shaft whilst still remaining a grandfathers axe - still the sign is a community sign - origins unknown and the current sign is a generous gesture of local businesses providing funds for the refurbishment of the community sign in support of their community.

There are many community signs like this around the shire and as such this one has a valid right to remain even if it isn't actually owned by anyone - Council in their direction to "Leave it as it is and not remove it" indicates that Council is happy for the sign to remain as it - It could be argued that the present advertisers on the sign might be in breech of Councils sign code in regards to remote advertising however these businesses are there as sponsors having refurbished the community sign to continue in its community service of providing information that is of interest to locals and visitors alike.

Should Council have any concerns regarding the sign, its contents or location they could well have advised the community to remove it many years ago - the sign's existing use and history along with Councils activities to improve the adjacent drainage and seal the layby indicate that Council approves the signs location, its structure and content other wise they would have approached the community to either remove the sign or the current sponsors to remove their display panels. By not doing so Council has endorsed the sign, its location and content all these years.

When it comes to risk the advertisers on the sign should not be liable as they are simply owners of their own individual panels and proudly sponsored the community sign - the sign, as stated belongs to the community and is possibly the third or forth version of the sign to have stood in this location in its many years of service.





from: THBOA <>
to: Lindsay Brown <>,
date: Sat, May 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM
subject: The Hector McWilliam community sign

Dear Lindsay,

the THBOA wrote to Council on April 8th (attached) stating that it wished to formally inform Council that it did not own the community sign on Hector McWilliam Drive.

The THBOA had on an earlier occasion advised Council that it wished to donate two new panels for this sign that would see the old signs removed and the community sign revitalised. The THBOA wished to do this in an effort to best market the whole town and provide improved information and an accurate street map.

The THBOA has no wish to donate new panels to a sign board that is not owned by Council that might be removed on a whim by policy or the wishes of RMS (this is a regional road).

In our letter of April 8th we wrote:

Please advise, as a matter of urgency your intentions regarding the sign as we strongly believe that Council is the owner of the sign.

If you do not wish to declare ownership of the sign might we suggest that you have the sign removed immediately at your cost as, those in the community, who erected the sign did so in good faith. They were members of an informal group that were simply doing a community service of upgrading a previous sign that had fallen into disrepair and as an informal group have disbanded.

It is strongly believed by this Association that we have NO responsibility for the sign and have not undertaken any maintenance of the sign nor insinuated any ownership of the sign.
Having received no reply by May 3rd i rang you to ask if you, as the Mayor, would investigate the status as we (the THBOA) were having a meeting the following week to finalise the design and endorse the donation of the new panels.

You advised me that you would look into it and get back to us with an answer. You informed me that Council was going through the records of past correspondence to determine if there was an owner and that possibly this might reveal that the owner as "unknown".

We have heard nothing of this matter since - that is three weeks after you assuring me by saying "I will get back to you"

Thre weeks on from my conversation with you and nearly two months since writing the letter - this sadly is quite pathetic and shows a complete lack of any timely communication capability or any ability by Council to act on its feet. At the least i had expected to hear directly from yourself regarding Councils determination of the status.

In a conversation in the week following our phone call i spoke to greg miller regarding the Tuross basketball court project. i asked Greg Miller breifly if he knew of the status of the sign - he said that records were being looked at to determine the ownership and that he would be driving with the Mayor the following week and would raise the issue on that journey.

As yet we still have no answer.

The THBOA will now pursue a different project with the fnds it holds and will be seeking Council permission to install an approach sign within the community grazing blocks on the northside approach to the Tuross Head turnoff.

The sign we will be seeking to install will be 4m wide and have an image much like the draft image attached

That sign will be owned and maintained by the THBOA.

In preliminary converstatios with Councils staf it has been indicated that there is no planning difficulties that can be found, that there is no lease problem (we have the consent of the lesee) however the Economic Development Manger feels that this might create a precedent and that a report would have to go to Council and the RMS would have to be informed to gain permission i light of the sign being a driver distraction even though it would not be in the road reserve. We welcome the opportunity to challenge this line of thought by presenting a string of existing precedents throughout the shire of a purely commercial nature.

Council may like to now decide what they would like to do with the sign on Hector McWilliam as it has no owner and as such has neither a maintenance plan nor any covering insurances.

Feel free to donate this sign to the THBOA for reinstalation as a Town approach sign. Note however that we have already received a commitment from Wayne Hutton to reuse the koppers swing set frame (4m wide) from Kyla reserve once the new swingset is installed. Should your offer of the existing community sign be conditional of the THBOA removing it we have no interest in your kind generosity as our budgets and capacities can not accept your offer. Nor do we have a need of Waynes offer of logs should that also be conditional.

To our minds the community sign and its condition is solely in the hands of Council. This was verbally accepted by Paul Anderson and told to Councillor Keith Dance in good faith as you can read in the attached letter.

Should Council however accept responsibility of this asset then the THBOA will reconsider assisting in improving its function and asthetic.In all a disappointment, as you can read here however the THBOA will now press ahead and hopefully work with your Economic Development Manager in trialing a township approach sign as a means to keeping visitors in the Shire, encouraging visitors to Tuross and proactively improving our capacity to provide employment to our community through quality tourism and increased visitation.

As with all of our correspondence this email constitutes itself as formal THBOA correspondence and will be tabled at our next meeting and also made available on our webpage for members to read. Our next meeting is at 5pm on June 18th at the Tuross Head Country Club. You are most welcome to attend.

We look forward to a timely reply

lei parker
secretary THBOA

Click HERE to read the letter od April 8th, 2013