Sydney City Council is planning something big.
An “iconic” multi-million-dollar sculpture up to 60 metres high along George Street, that The Sydney Morning Herald says some councillors believe will be as breathtaking as the Eiffel Tower.
But the project design is surrounded in secrecy and won’t be revealed properly until Tuesday following Monday night’s Council meeting to sign off on the plan.
Concerns over the behind-closed-doors approach of Lord Mayor to the proposal has some councillors, including Edward Mandla, annoyed, because he believes there should be public debate over the work before the decision is made. Council has $6.5 million set aside for three public artworks along George Street.
But things took a menacing turn after he threatened to go public with the proposal, chief executive, Monica Barone, saying she would have to report “suspected corruption” to the ICAC “if confidential matters were disclosed to the media that would likely come within the definition of corruption.”
In true bureaucracy-meets-business style, Sydney City Council put out a tender for the artwork, attracting more than 700 bids from 25 countries, and now says that under NSW Government tendering guidelines, it can’t say anything about it due to confidentiality.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has just taken to Twitter to defend Council and its “bold” plans, saying the tender process was necessary “too ensure a fair, corruption-free process public art works for George Street”.
She said “An independent expert panel has reviewed the submissions & made recommendations” going on to cite examples of artworks already installed.
— Clover Moore (@CloverMoore) July 24, 2014
Some have been more successful that others. One of the images she used is the “rainbow crossing” installed on Oxford Street in 2013 at an estimated cost of $110,000, to coincidence with Mardi Gras. The crossing was removed a month later when the NSW Government overruled the council.
And the last Sydney lord mayor to show a keen interest in public sculpture was Frank Sartor, who removed Bert Flugelman’s 19-metre-high stainless steel William Dobell Memorial, dubbed the silver shish kebab, from its original Martin Place site, saying it belonged in the harbour tunnel.
And an earlier council was also responsible for Sydney’s most hated public sculpture – Ken Unsworth’s Stones Against the Sky in Kings Cross, better known to most Sydneysiders as “Poo on sticks” (pictured above).
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