Driving into town from the north, the first thing most folk notice – apart from the harbour – is the Civic Centre on the other side of the road.
The newly renovated Civic Centre was expanded, modernised and completed in June 2014.
Locally, the new award-winning building has been met with great support and is widely acknowledged as a success in terms of design and appearance.
Certainly, the eye-catching, glass dominant building, and the surrounding reserve area, is a focal point for visitors.
But, it’s not the Civic Centre that is the shining light of this land, but the Paperbark that stands to the front.
The Tree, which grows between harbour and Civic Centre, has roots extending both ways, links that connect.
The pale-coloured Tree-being soaks up the coastal morning light, illuminating the surrounds.
The papery bark is tactile; who can even think how many hands have caressed, pinched and exfoliated that Tree over the years. This Tree is surely the most touched tree in town.
Sit against the trunk of the Paperbark and listen to hir stories:
of Blessing of the Fleet Parades; wild storms that lash waves into the harbour; early morning walkers and their dogs that are also attracted; market stalls and carnivals; the daily cavalcade of thousands who drive along the road; the accidents and near misses; the lovers by moonlight who make special use of the Tree, the bed-sheet like quality strangely appealing; of Salman Rushdie years ago when in hiding, on a secret visit to town.
The Tree has seen it all.