It may look like a harmless fence of teddy bears, but according to a local government in South Australia, this growing attraction spells big trouble.
In fact, the 2000-bear strong fence — which was started two years ago by radio host Andrew “Cosi” Costello and has since won a world record — is set to be pulled down because of a group of “whingers and whiners”.
People have just two weeks to leave their beloved bears before the fence, which lies between Kulpara and Paskeville on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia, is demolished.
“A few people have complained they don’t like it,” said Cosi, who started the fence two years ago with his two young daughters during a roadtrip to his home town on the Yorke Peninsula.
“We get hundreds and messages about how much people love the fence, but it’s the classic bloody thing of the whining minority having the power.
“Some think the fence makes a mess, which they don’t like. But that’s not true because my mum lives down there and walks the fence once a month and picks up any rubbish she sees. I do it too when I go down there.”
Cosi said the other complaint that had led to the Department of Planning, Industry and Transport’s decision was around safety, which he could sympathise with.
“The fence is on a 100km/h road, so I do partly agree with the safety concern,” he said.
“But I have tried to get the fence moved to another area, but neither the Barunga West Council or the Copper Coast Council want it, so the DPIT have pulled the trigger on the whole thing.”
Cosi said the 1km fence had become a landmark for families on roadtrips and removing the 2000 bears sitting along the fence would be a great loss to the region.
“The whingers and the whiners seem to have more power than the majority,” he said.
“This has become a real landmark, and sure it’s not going to change the world, but it brings a bit of joy for people doing a roadtrip.”
The fence is a real “smile maker” and Cosi said kids loved pointing at it as they headed towards the coast.
“I think that’s what disappoints me the most about all of this,” he said. “How can something so simple be a target to complain about? It’s just disappointing. Australia needs to be careful we don’t lose the fabric in what makes us great, especially because there’s lots of places either council could move the bears and fence to.”
Earlier today, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said on the Bec & Cosi show on hit107 he would take the issue further with the State Government in an effort to save the tourist attraction.
“We’ve got to do something, we’ve got to find a new place for it, it’s such an attraction,” Mr Marshall said.
“There have been legitimate questions raised about safety. People are slowing down to have a look at it and other people are not slowing down, which is causing a few issues. There’s got to be somewhere we can put it to continue this legacy. Children love it, adults love it, South Australians love it.”
Cosi said an online vote indicated more than 92 per cent of the 20,000 votes did not want the fence to be pulled down.
News.com.au has contacted the Department of Planning, Industry and Transport for comment.