COMMUNITY EVENT: Uki post office owner Gary Wall hosting one of his community art exhibitions last year.
COMMUNITY EVENT: Uki post office owner Gary Wall hosting one of his community art exhibitions last year. Vibrant Imaging

Uki art exhibition faces axe

"UTTER devastation" is how the organiser of Art Post Uki described the threat of losing his community art exhibition.

Uki Post Office owner Gary Wall said the community had enjoyed several art exhibitions displaying regional talent in the past 12 months.

However, a complaint to the council by a Tweed Shire resident about the art exhibition's legality has brought the event into question and it now faces extinction.

Mr Wall was informed last month that his exhibitions, hosted every six weeks, require an approved development application from the council.

He said his business forked out $10,000 a year to run the event and said paying for the development application or being fined could end the exhibitions.

"The art exhibition was all about building community however in this case it looks like council is trying to over regulate something which has brought so much joy," Mr Wall said. "We do draw a really wonderful crowd (and) we have a great community spirit going.

"I have been told by so many locals that this is the thing they look forward to that night."

However, the Tweed Shire Council has stated it had to investigate the complaint and ensure proper regulations were being followed. Council director planning and regulation Vince Connell said Mr Wall had breached his current development application which was for a coffee machine in 2017.

"The display of public art per se is generally not considered to require development consent, but the holding of functions with regular patronage does," Mr Connell said.

"Council is fully aware that the subject use is a desirable business for Uki, respecting local heritage, and provide a basis for broader tourist attraction.

"Since the original approval, it is clear that owner has extended the operations beyond the conditions of consent with additional seating to enhance a café component, and also holding regular functions."

The next exhibition is scheduled for Thursday, February 21, however a meeting between Mr Wall and the council this week may change that.