It took them nearly three hours of debate, but Byron Council has finally come up with a solution to the Bayshore Drive sculpture debacle.
Stick some more metal birds on it.
Ok, the resolution at yesterday’s council meeting was a bit more nuanced than that, but essentially the council has decided to give Melbourne artist Corey Thomas an opportunity to ‘finish’ the infamous metal structure.
And that could well mean more metal birds.
At least this time the council’s public art panel and the other councillors will be keeping an eagle eye on the process.
‘This will be so closely scrutinised by the public art panel,’ the chair of the public art panel, Cr Sarah Ndiaye said during a marathon debate at the issue during Thursday’s council meeting.
‘If they’re not completely happy that it will be better than it is now it won’t go ahead.’
Cr Ndiaye told the meeting that Mr Thomas ‘deserved an opportunity to finish the work’ because he had been:
- given delayed access to the site
- subjected to between 50 and 100 insults per day from locals driving past and
- given an unrealistic timeline
In the end a bare majority of councillors agreed, passing a resolution subject to the matter being reconsidered by council prior to any actual work being done.
Labor’s Cr Spooner was one of those calling for council to cut its losses and leave the sculpture as it is.
‘This debate is a demonstration that we have learnt nothing from this process,’ Cr Spooner said.
‘What you’re proposing is throwing good money after bad. We are now proposing to spend up to another $45,000, which we don’t have.
‘The question is, what are we going to take money away from?’
The staff report in relation to the matter indicated that between $32,000-$45,000 would be required to complete the work, including traffic control, site safety and the use of an elevated work platform.
However, the resolution by council limits any additional spending on the sculpture to $2,000 – the cost of the artists travel and accommodation.
The reduced budget appears to stem from the fact that the artist has volunteered to do the additional work for free.
The council also heard that there are left over developer contribution funds – known as section 7.12 funds – which could be used to fund the additional works, rather than taking it from money for roads and other basic infrastructure.