Rent ‘madness’ may scuttle underpass art

PUBLIC art planned to beautify the Guildford Road underpass in Mt Lawley may be scrapped over a bureaucratic squabble.

The Public Transport Authority wants to charge councils rent for the display of public art on bridge walls.

PTA bugle David Hynes says a fee would cover “maintenance” costs.

The move has incensed Stirling, Bayswater and Vincent councils and Mt Lawley MP Michael Sutherland, who have been working for months on ways to lift the area.

Bayswater mayor Terry Kenyon says the PTA has its hand out for $1000 from the city every year, plus a $330 administration fee from each council.

Stirling senior executive Trevor Holland describes the request as “madness”: “The councils are trying to beautify an area that is the PTA’s responsibility. And now they are wanting to charge us for maintaining their infrastructure annually? Madness.

“We hope that common sense will prevail.”

Cr Kenyon says the walls belong to the PTA, not the council: “The city finds the PTA’s response very disappointing considering the intention is to beautify a public asset on behalf of—and at no cost to—the PTA.

If a solution isn’t reached by June 30 a $15,000 contribution from WA police will lapse and the project is likely to fall over.

Mr Sutherland—who facilitated the project—says it has been tangled in red tape for two years: “It is inconceivable for  a government department to now want rent. They should be happy the place is being tidied up—not place obstacles in the way.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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