Gold Coast City councillors have voted to keep a controversial multi-million-dollar light installation on the motorway to Brisbane, after being told 100 per cent of people in the city “don’t like it”.
The lights spell out ‘Gold Coast’ in the middle of the busy M1 motorway at Yatala on the city’s northern outskirts, but motorists have complained since it was installed that the sign is pointless because it’s impossible to see by passing cars.
The decision to keep it in place came just days after a council committee recommended the sign be removed.
It cost the council and Queensland government more than $2 million to install the sign before last year’s Commonwealth Games.
It was designed by a team of New York artists.
On Wednesday, councillors were asked to vote on a motion calling for the installation to be removed and stored, at a cost of more than $250,000.
Deputy Mayor Donna Gates, who represents the Yatala area, asked council to instead negotiate with the Gold Coast Suns to have the artwork relocated to the Carrara football stadium.
She said “100 per cent of the Gold Coast don’t like it” and described it as a “massive liability” for the city’s reputation because it is unreadable.
“It’s an awkward one for all of us. We invested $2.1 million into this piece of art, but quite clearly it’s in the wrong location,” she said.
Cr Gates said she wanted to turn the big negative into a positive for the city.
Installation ‘has merit’
But Mayor Tom Tate instead put a motion forward for the sign to remain where it is until the city secures an alternative location.
He said the light installation “has merit” but acknowledged it was clearly in the wrong spot.
Cr Tate told the council meeting the location was chosen by the Queensland Transport Department and council was not on the selection panel of people who chose the artists.
The Gold Coast council meeting was told it would cost up to $1.4 million to relocate the lights to another location and $250,000 for the lights to be put into storage, and that the artists would need to be consulted.
The council also heard the artwork cost the city about $30,000 a year to maintain and $5000 to power.
“There is no need to make a decision today to scrap the work, store it, spend $250,000 to do so with no return on ratepayers fund,” Cr Tate said.
A majority of councillors voted for the light installation to stay where it is.