New light-bulb idea mooted to draw visitors to Albany

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Plaques at the Kings Park honour avenue. A similar project has been proposed for Albany.
Camera IconPlaques at the Kings Park honour avenue. A similar project has been proposed for Albany. Credit: The West Australian

An ambitious idea for tens of thousands of trees, lights and memorial plaques along roads entering Albany is the latest proposal to replace Field of Light: Avenue of Honour.

The project, pitched to City of Albany officials by businessman Paul Lionetti last week, would see 41,000 trees, lights and plaques form permanent honour avenues on Albany Highway, Chester Pass and North Road.

Each tree would be dedicated to a soldier who left Albany for World War I.

“I think it will attract a lot more people, because (of) 41,000 troops and their families,” Mr Lionetti said.

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“If they have a tree in Albany dedicated to John Smith, the chances of that family coming here is great.”

Mr Lionetti’s idea was one of several pitched to improve tourism in the region after it was confirmed Bruce Munro’s Field of Light installation could not stay in Albany.

The businessman’s idea, which he said he had proposed before, would likely come with a hefty price tag.

Perth’s Kings Park hosts a similar honour avenue, where nearly 1800 plaques include names, rank, age and death details of soldiers killed in wars since 1914.

Those plaques cost about $500 each. Planting 41,000 trees and lights would also likely be costly.

Amazing South Coast executive officer Peter Grigg, who was also at the meeting with Mr Lionetti, said he welcomed ideas but stopped short of endorsement.

“Stimulating conversation is where it needs to start,” he said.

“There are a million ideas out there, I’m sure ... but a lot of work would need to be done before we create the new buzz.

“The last thing we want to do is rush into something and not put the necessary research behind it to achieve the results the Field of Light did.”

City of Albany executive director of community services Susan Kay said the City welcomed ideas.

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