Clover… please no Moore

According to my local weekly nag (I mean, rag) The Wentworth Courier; Mayor Sally Betts appears to be having great trouble with ideas on how to spend the Waverley municipality’s $20 million notch-up of local tax-payers money from hefty council rates. What will the Eastern Suburbs do with their part of the money?! 

Put your Betts in now, we apparently have 33 days to email thoughts to: SallyB@waverley.nsw.gov.au

Before one could get too excited about the winning surplus though, I was given an education on our previous spending power…you see, I haven’t much knowledge on rates since I lived here in 2006)…too busy keeping the wallets of London property owners fat, before drinking away what was left of my salary in whatever bar or pub had a fireplace, or enough miserable bodies that could warm a room to a comfortable temperature, or at the very least, a temperature I could be minus a beanie in.  

Previous taxpayers use of money includes an adopted whale. Yes you read correctly. This was a cute idea for those of us on the coast until the clueless mammal broke free of its tag and hasn’t been sighted since. We assume its living a quiet and happy life somewhere in a sea galaxy far far away, and well…we don’t have to look as far to find all those underused cycle lanes that now have tumble weed blowing past cars that were to be equipped with side passenger air bags to safe guard all the riders. Yup. WTF? – because a side airbag isn’t at all dangerous when a cyclist gets catapulted across the street from the supposed impact???!! But I apologise. We can’t give Betts the credit where credit isn’t due. The amazing cycle lane idea belongs to none other than our Sydney Mayor, Clover Moore. 

A much bigger debate rages on over Clover Moore, who has the task of spending some $600 million. For some, she’s proved her head really is in the clouds with her announcement of the $3.5m Cloud Arch, part of the Sydney Mayor’s $9m public art splurge.  She was quoted as saying, “Great art around the world can really put a city on the map — you only have to think of the Eiffel Tower in Paris as an example and you only have to think of our own Opera House”. 

There are the artist’s fees of course to consider as well with Japanese artist Junya Ishigami being paid $2.5 million for the $3.5 million steel Cloud Arch sculpture, which will soar up to 75m into the air near Town Hall and form a gateway into George St. 

British artist Tracey Emin will get $913,000 for her $2.1 million sculptures of bronze birds, which will be dotted about doorways, awnings and on poles in the CBD’s north. Egyptian-born, Sydney-based Hany Armanious is being paid $1.7 million for his $2.5 million fibreglass “milk crate’’ sculpture at Belmore Park.

 

Ms Moore defended the cost and said the wacky artworks, which could be built by 2017 and have already been given a series of nicknames, would become world famous landmarks.

clover

“People know the Sydney Opera House, they know the Harbour Bridge and in the future they’ll know the Cloud,” she said.

I think that’s all well and good and as a lover of the arts myself I would never consider some expenditure on arts to be a waste of time or money; however, since arriving back in Sydney some 6 months ago, it’s clear that there are just too many other shortfalls the city should consider tackling before we give weight to giant plastic milk crates. 

And after always hearing or reading that Sydney just doesn’t have the money for a good train and bus infrastructure, it seems that this just isn’t the case. In light of this, can we please put some money into defining who Sydney is, Moore?.

…perhaps less time pretending we’re Paris or London. You ain’t no Boris and our roads are filled with cars, not bikes. Oh and we prefer coffee to tea. Lets start with the basics, and build from there. Sydney is an amazing city. Why won’t you let us see it?

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