A bridge named after now disgraced former Ipswich City mayor Paul Pisasale should be renamed after Ipswich-born tennis champion Ash Barty, according to a new online petition.
- Ash Barty is a proud Ngarigo woman who was born and still lives in Ipswich, west of Brisbane
- An online petition has about 1,200 signatures to rename a Springfield Central bridge after Barty
- In 2020, the newly-elected Ipswich City Council said they would investigate options of renaming infrastructure after previous councillors
The petition, launched by Ipswich woman Karin Weston has about 1,200 signatories and calls for the bridge at Sinnathamby Boulevard in Springfield Central to be renamed after “their local legend”.
Women’s singles world number one Barty, a proud Ngarigo woman was born in Ipswich and still lives in the area.
On the change.org petition, Ms Weston wrote the bridge should be named after “an Indigenous woman, a sporting legend, a woman of character who is proud to call this community her hometown”.
In 2018 the entire Ipswich council was sacked following a Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigation.
Council already reviewing landmarks named after councillors
The new council, elected last year vowed to investigate potentially renaming bridges, roads and a park named after the former councillors.
The landmarks that were flagged for potential renaming include David Morrison Way in Springfield, Paul Tully Avenue at Collingwood Park, the Paul Tully Bridge and David Pahlke Bridge at Springfield central, as well as the Sheila Ireland
At the time new mayor Teresa Harding said she did not believe any councillor should name things after themselves.
Since then, the council has made a policy preventing the naming of streets or landmarks after a councillor or elected representative.
Mayor Teresa Harding said the council expected to focus on the renaming process later this year.
Mr Pisasale was last year sentenced to seven-and-a-half years’ jail at the District court in Ipswich and will be eligible for parole in October 2022.
The former mayor had previously pleaded to more than 30 offences including sexual assault, fraud and official corruption.
Ms Weston said she felt the time was right and wanted to make a stance for her community.
“The woman can live anywhere she chooses but her hometown is important to her and she’s a proud local Ipswich community member regardless of fame and fortune,” she said.
Mixed response to petition
The petition was met with both support and resistance online.
One person commenting on social media said it was a “great idea”.
Another person commenting on social media said Barty was a “far better role model for our community than the person whose name is currently on there”.
One social media commenter said they could see both sides to the argument but there should be a new structure to honour Barty.
However, other users said people had forgotten what the former councillors had done for the community.
“As soon as somebody stuffs up all the good things [they] have done are soon forgotten!”
Something to honour Barty in the works, Mayor flags
Cr Harding said Barty deserves “the highest honour our city can give”.
“In the early hours of the morning when she won I actually tagged the Premier and said maybe we should put a statue of Ash up,” she said.
“In regards to the bridge, I guess the view I’ve heard around the place is, given the history associated with the bridge, I think there’s a hope that we would actually top that.
“That we would do something more significant than that and I think without the history of that bridge as well.
Barty has already been given keys to Ipswich City in 2017.
“We are working with her team and her family on what would be appropriate,” Cr Harding said.