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Love lock campaign

11 Jun 2015

Love lock campaign Image

Southbank resident Kevin Neville has initiated an online campaign in response to the City of Melbourne’s decision to remove more than 20,000 locks from the Southbank footbridge.

The 45-year-old father of two launched a Facebook page last month entitled “Love Locks on Southbank Bridge – Save Them, Return Them” to provide an opportunity for the public to share stories and ideas for how the removed locks can be put to use.

It follows a letter Mr Neville sent to Lord Mayor Robert Doyle questioning the City of Melbourne’s decision to remove the locks without giving sufficient notice to the public.

He and his two daughters had attached locks to the bridge in September 2013 with engraved messages on them and said he would have appreciated the opportunity to retrieve them.

“Look, in the whole scheme of world affairs it’s not a major issue but people put them there and they would have been sentimental to them,” he said.

“For someone it might be a memory of a lost one or something like that and not everyone would have had in that two days an opportunity to retrieve them and I thought that just two days notice was pretty rough.”

After announcing its decision on Monday, May 18, the City of Melbourne ordered workers to start removing the locks on the following Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the City of Melbourne said the wires were sagging under the weight and causing a safety issue with the barrier rather than any sort of structural problem.

Speaking on radio last month, Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said he was open to ideas on how the removed locks could be used.

“If anyone has any idea what I can do with 20,000 locks I’d love to hear it – that and the 40,000 keys now at the bottom of the Yarra River,” he said.

In his letter to the Lord Mayor, Mr Neville wrote: “When I see my little girls’ locks it reminds me to never give up trying to be a part of their lives.”

He admitted that, while the locks couldn’t go on being attached forever, he said the council could have been more “transparent” for those who wished to retrieve them.

Mr Neville encouraged members of the public to share their personal stories on the Facebook page as well as suggestions for how the locks could be used in creating a new tourist attraction for Melbourne.

“I thought, with there being 20,000 locks removed, which is basically 40,000 people, the council did it pretty swiftly and I guess you could say the love locks didn’t have a voice,” he said.

“I just created the Facebook page for people to hopefully “like” it and, if they do, we could get enough support and could maybe go to the Lord Mayor with a recommendation.”

The City of Melbourne is yet to confirm what it will do with the locks.

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