THE Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre is in the limelight this week after ‘Connie’, a wedding dress made entirely of condoms, was put on public display.
The display is designed to encourage local residents to talk openly about sexually transmitted infections (STI) during National Youth Week 2013.
Councillor Andrew Guile said he was shocked by the placement of the display where young children could see it and that the dress might have been better suited to an art gallery.
“The decision by the Mayor, without consultation of council, is at best an appalling lack of judgment,” he said.
“While I might be able to understand this display in the context of contemporary art in a gallery somewhere, it is wrong to shove this in front of all those families who might want to access the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre.
“Despite the Mayor’s encouragement, I certainly won’t be bringing my six-year-old daughter into the box office to get Wiggles tickets,” said Cr Guile.
He said work by council to portray the Shoalhaven as a place for families to holiday and move to permanently had been compromised by the display, which had put Nowra on the map as the chlamydia capital of NSW.
“To have the Shoalhaven featured in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Melbourne’s Herald-Sun over an issue like this does nothing to promote sexual health and does everything to trash the Shoalhaven’s reputation.
“This publicity just brings shame and embarrassment,” he said.
Shoalhaven Mayor Joanna Gash said calls for the dress to be immediately removed from the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre were naive and disappointing.
“The exhibition of Connie is about drawing attention to an issue that has huge impacts across the whole of society,” Cr Gash said.
“While sections of the community may be offended by these issues, council is not prepared to stick its head in the sand and pretend sexually transmitted infections do not exist.
“I’m certainly hopeful that the extra publicity generated by Connie has a flow-on effect into promoting safer sex practices and a more proactive attitude towards sexual health within the community,” Cr Gash said.
Connie will be displayed until Monday, June 10.