Almost two years ago when Samantha and Rob Outridge decided to build a wet weather covered pathway as part of the upgrade of Maleny Supa IGA, they wanted it to be more than just functional. Yes, it had to shelter shoppers and visitors from the rain and sun as they made their way down the laneway between IGA and the Credit Union, but it could also provide an opportunity for local artists to add a touch of community art - to tell part of the story that is Maleny.

Samantha and Rob invited the local group of community place-making artists called Art4place to become partners in the design of the covered pathway. Art4place consulted its 30 plus members and five design concepts were put forward. The Outridges chose a design by Art4place artists Barry Smith, Edith-Ann Murray and Fiona Dempster that will tell some of the history and environmental aspects of our town. Designs went through many modifications to meet different planning, engineering and structural requirements.

The 50 metre long, three metre wide walkway will incorporate a newly laid even concrete pathway and feature a series of overlapping free standing shelters covered with rusted Corten steel. This will channel the rain in a series of cascades towards a waterfall feature with large chains at the car park end. A series of Lomandra Longifolia cutouts in the roof and Perspex covers bolted over the cutouts will allow the light through and keep the rain out.

The rusted Corten steel and bolts reminds us of the water tanks used by the early dairy farmers. The roof with its cascades and waterfall is an artistic representation of the water of the Obi Obi Creek and Gardner’s Falls. Lomandra Longifolia is an important native plant in the area that stabilises banks and acts to mitigate erosion. Finally, the chains in the waterfall feature hark back to the horses and bullocks and the chains used to haul produce to local markets.

The Maleny IGA covered walkway will not only be a practical and much needed structure, but will create a community place and piece of art designed to share a little more of the Maleny experience with visitors and locals alike.

There are many community dimensions to this community placemaking art pathway.  The artists have given their time on the art design and execution of art aspects of the work as a gift to the Maleny community. The cutouts in the Corten steel were done by workers and volunteers at the Beerwah Resource Centre as a community contribution to a green art project. This art pathway was the first such art work using Corten steel that architect Michael from F3 Design had undertaken and he generously gave extra time to make it work. And of course Murray Petersen, project builder and his workers have taken up the challenge of working with artists with grace and have found practical ways to make this functional art pathway work. And of course Rob and Sam for persisting with the art aspects of this project and helping bring this to our local community.

NOTE:  Work has begun on this exciting new addition to Maleny.  Expected time of completion is 4 weeks depending on the weather.   Please use the alternative walkway on the other side of Maleny IGA.

Creative Commons Licence Maleny story told via our new "Place-Making" Pathway by Maleny Supa IGA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work at http://www.malenyiga.com.au.