Manly has launched a bid to steal Bondi’s Sculpture by the Sea event after the organiser threatened to make this year the last after a falling out with Waverley Council over a new footpath.
Held at Bondi for the last 23 years, the world-renowned event attracts 450,000 visitors and brings in $11 million to the beach suburb each year.
However, a decision by council to build a new footpath through the area to increase accessibility has irked festival director David Handley who claimed it will rip the “guts” out of the festival and reduce the number of sculptures able to be exhibited.
“I can’t see the exhibition happening again if this path is built as planned,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“By taking eight to 10 prime sites for Sculpture by the Sea, you’re ripping the guts out of the exhibition.
“It is too late to cancel for 2019, although nine sculptures will no longer be able to be exhibited and 12 will be greatly compromised.”
Handley then opened the doors for other locations to host the festival, with Sydney’s Manly jumping at the chance.
Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan told the Daily Telegraph that Manly had already “puts its hand up to take over this role”.
“We’re putting in a 36km track from Manly to Palm Beach … that will be built in 2020,” he said. “Sculpture by the Sea would be a great addition to that.”
State MP James Griffin also joined the fray saying they would welcome to Sculpture by the Sea to come to Manly in 2020,” he said.
“We all know there is one thing better than Sculpture by the Sea Bondi, it’s Sculpture by the Sea Manly,” he said.
“Manly has everything over Bondi, it’s too long a list to go through right now.
“But there would be no better home for Sculpture by the Sea than in Manly and up the northern beaches.”
Mosman and North Sydney Council have also made their own pitchs.
“Mosman would be very happy to talk to the founding director. He’s a local,” Mosman Councillor Roy Bendall said.