A commemorative plaque dedicated to disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris' is set to remain where it is in Kununurra's Celebrity Tree Park. Or rather it would have remained where it was, if it hadn't been stolen just days before a council vote regarding its future.
Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley councillors voted to keep the plaque at their meeting this evening, along with two others marking the visits of former WA premier Brian Burke, and former governor-general Peter Hollingworth.
Cr Keith Wright had proposed the removal, which was knocked back four votes to five.
No mention was made in the meeting of what would happen now that the Rolf Harris plaque had been stolen, or whether it would be replaced.
Shire president John Moulden was one of the five councillors opposed to the removal. "This is an emotive topic and I will give anyone who wishes the chance to speak for and against it," he said as debate began.
Cr Wright, who proposed the removal said he felt the plaque dedicated to Harris detracted from Celebrity Tree Park.
"I have been involved in Celebrity Tree Park for a number of years .... As soon as I saw the article in The Echo (about the plaque) I rang the chief executive and the chief executive encouraged me to bring forward my motion to council," he said.
"If we are going to stick with the meaning of Celebrity Tree Park, I feel that these three plaques detract from the reputation of the park."
Cr Wright said he was encouraged to hear the City of Perth had removed the plaque on St George's Terrace.
Cr Raymond (Spike) Desert was another member who voted against the removal.
"Should we remove the name of Ned Kelly? There might be a couple of others who did something wrong," he said. "Where do we draw the line on what we are going to do?"
Cr Darren Spackman counctered that argument: "Ned Kelly was famous for being an outlaw, not for being a good person."
Cr Sophie Cooke voted for the removal.
"Celebrity Tree Park is an honour," she said. "At the time that these three people were honoured, they were held in high regard. I don't believe you should be honoured if you are found to not be the person you were thought to be."
Cr Glenn Taylor called for the matter to be taken to a briefing session. He said he did not think it should be removed but added "I'd like to dedicate the tree to victims of sexual crime".