Hydra update: no bench in June??

Our biennial Hydra meetups, and the big 2002 Event
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jarkko
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Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby jarkko » Mon May 18, 2015 11:40 am

Dear Friends,

We are sorry to report that it is unlikely that our bench commemorating Leonard on his 80th birthday will be finished in time for the dedication ceremony on June 13.

The bench was to be built by the Municipality of Hydra, and the work started last Monday. However, owner of the house that stands in the lope above the bench, visited his house from the mainland, took a closer view of the building site, and informed the Municipality and us that he will start a legal proceeding with his lawyers against the building of the bench.

This particular homeowner has threatened to sue the municipality of Hydra and everybody involved because, in his opinion, the noise, smoking, garbage and graffiti that the bench will attract will be detrimental to the enjoyment of his property. Unfortunately, it is not for us to say whether this complaint is legitimate. It is completely in the hands of the Mayor and the Hydra Council to address the concerns of one of their citizens and to offer a solution.

The Municipality stopped the work because they didn’t want to have such a dispute around this very positive project of good-will. The situation is right now totally open but it is obvious that there will be no bench in June. Possibly a new location has to be found, but this unfortunately means that all the paperwork starts again from the beginning.

The site was chosen last year with the help of a Greek architect who has long-time experience in projects like this. The bench was to be built on public area owned by the Municipality, on the road from the Hydra village to Kamini. It took more than half a year to get the necessary permission from the Ministry in Athens (Hydra is a Historic site, and all projects have to be approved by the offices in Athens). Meanwhile the bench and its location was also approved unanimously by the Council of Hydra. Legally the bench is a public project and property of the Municipality, financed with funds donated by Leonard Cohen's fans. The stones had been carefully chosen during the Winter, and last Monday, with all non-appealable permits in hand of the Hydra authorities, the construction was to begin.

At this time, the future of our bench is open and is up to the decision of the Municipality. If they decide to look for another location, the paperwork would begin again. We will do our best to keep you updated but we wanted to make you aware of this turn of events as soon as possible. According to emails we have received last night, the Saturday night celebration Hydra has planned to honor Leonard will not be affected with the decision the municipality is going to make about the bench.

Jarkko and Marie
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby harald » Mon May 18, 2015 12:16 pm

I am positive that everything possible was done by Jarkko and others as well as our Greek contacts for a smooth and legal planning and construction of our bench. These things happen and there´s no way to avoid them. For now we can only hope for a good outcome. Maybe “patience” is the word, once again. At the moment, I feel especially with those who have already put in so much effort and work in the project.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby harald » Mon May 18, 2015 12:22 pm

Benches are evil. Benches attract noise, smoking, garbage and graffiti. Benches attract common people to sit on them, who other than home owners produce these negative outputs.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby Henning » Mon May 18, 2015 12:44 pm

I can only assure you, that Jarkko, Lakis and the architect did a great job to finalize the project. Just when the installation had begun last week the home owner visited his island ressort. His massive influence led to the point that the location of the bench is discussed again. Let's hope that there will be a solution for a bench that is doing no harm to anybody and will be a site for silence and a deeper silence when the crickets hesitate.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby anneporter » Mon May 18, 2015 1:39 pm

Henning wrote:... a bench that is doing no harm to anybody and will be a site for silence and a deeper silence when the crickets hesitate.
Well said, Henning. I didn't know you were also a poet!
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby LC&LC » Mon May 18, 2015 1:57 pm

don't you just hate it when people get in the way of the realisation of an altruist idea?
I feel very very sorry for all of those who put in a lot of energy in this project...
If only a citizen couldn't sue a municipality over a construction, fully approved by all officials, on the public space, or can he?
Last edited by LC&LC on Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby lizzytysh » Mon May 18, 2015 2:18 pm

Terribly sad and frustrating new development.
Praying that solutions will be found for our honouring of Leonard to come to fruition.
At least we will celebrate Leonard in June and sit on our imaginary bench.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby lizzytysh » Mon May 18, 2015 10:05 pm

Now, what I'm wondering is... if there is found no other acceptable, and agreeable to those nearby, site on Hydra... can we take our money and the architect's plans and find a good spot for a bench in Montreal, since it's Leonard's hometown and deeply loved there, as well.

What I'm wondering, as well, is... in my three [MAYBE 4?] trips to Hydra, how did I miss "the noise, smoking, garbage and graffiti that the bench will attract will be detrimental to the enjoyment of his property." One thing that Hydra has in spades is pride of place! The Hydriots take immaculate care of the harbour area, where most of the people gather, the streets, alleyways, steps, doorsteps, and home. I've never seen graffiti anywhere. Smoking... it seems there could be a receptacle for it at the bench, but people walking would smoke just as much... more likely the bench would be for those simply wanting a quiet rest on their way. Garbage I've not seen strewn anywhere. Why would our simple bench suddenly become such a magnet for all four of these factors? Makes no sense to me and his protestations seem hyperbolic and suspicious.

I agree, LC&LC ~ how is it that such a lawsuit could go forward in light of the overwhelming approvals and a part-time only resident... and it's at the bottom of his property. With all the discussion surrounding this bench by so many ~ not just here, but there as well ~ how did he not know of or visit his property until the 11th hour.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby B4real » Tue May 19, 2015 2:58 am

I feel so sorry for each and everyone with this situation. The part time resident above the bench’s position is obviously not an aficionado of Leonard’s work. If he was he would know the long term use for this bench is simply the opposite of what he suggests. If it were me I would feel very privileged to have such a commemorative gesture beyond the bottom of my garden. Hopefully the bench will eventually become a reality.

I had made plans to come to Hydra this year but circumstances have not permitted me to do carry them out. I’m aiming for next time and to ultimately sit on that bench! But for now, I know you will all have a wonderful time anyway!
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby Greg Ross » Tue May 19, 2015 5:08 am

Bench or no bench, it's vital to carry on, in support of Jarkko, the architect and the Hydra mayor etc, not to mention the well being of the forum and respect for Leonard of Hydra.

'We all have the sort of person who's objected to the bench seat and public access in our communities, we call them NIMBYS in Western Australia - Not In My Back Yard! They often move into an area where there is a hotel, beach, restaurant, or other entertainment precinct, then campaign to close down the public amenity. Unfortunately these sorts of people are usually well-informed of what can be done legally and wealthy.

The concept of doing something in Montreal is good, however I feel that we should continue to support something in Hydra, it's not the community or the municipality that's against the idea, it's just one person pulling a power game, let's see what the Mayor and his people can come up with.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby lizzytysh » Tue May 19, 2015 2:23 pm

Oh, Greg, I wasn't in the least suggesting giving up on Hydra. My comment was that if this immediate situation wasn't resolvable, and if no alternate site could be found... THEN consider Montreal.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby harald » Tue May 19, 2015 6:10 pm

And then I confess that I tortured our project.
They heard that I would sit there on the bench with a zig in my mouth.
And Leonard would sit beside me and I´d teach him to smoke.
And we´d be dressed in a clothe of smoke.
And no world and no home owner could look through.

It´s on the list of the crimes that are mine.
I am sorry for smudging your dreams, smudging our dreams.
I will ask for the mercy that I trust you will not decline.

(On the other hand – as a liberal with a deep distrust towards the holders of power – I would never deny an individual his right to oppose and sue against actions of the state.)
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby its4inthemorning » Thu May 21, 2015 4:26 pm

Can we please consider moving the bench location to Montreal? One possible location might be Parc du Portgual, the small park that Leonard's house overlooks. Another might be facing Notre Dame de Bonsecours, of "Suzanne" fame. Undoubtedly there are other potential locations, perhaps Leonard would want to suggest one.

I believe the city of Montreal would be happy to let us honor Leonard in this way, and I am sure there are many excellent Montreal causes to which our excess funds might be donated.

Any costs already incurred to acquire and work the stones would not be wasted, they could be shipped to Montreal once the city approves.

Jarkko, is changing the bench location feasible?

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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby yoeri » Thu May 21, 2015 5:10 pm

I think Leonard said himself he preferred no bench (or other present) in Montreal. But I can be wrong.
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Re: Hydra update: no bench in June??

Postby jarkko » Thu May 21, 2015 5:43 pm

No, Yoeri, you are not wrong.
It's also important to honor Leonard's privacy: no bench (or anything else) close to one of his homes.
To its4inthemorning: the freight of those flat rocks from Hydra to any other country would cost more than the stones!!
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