Timed out

08 814NEWS

• This likely-doomed clock was designed by Joan Walsh-Smith and Charles Smith.

TIME’S up for Perth’s million-dollar sapphire atomic clock, with Perth city council planning to handball the project back to the increasingly parsimonious state government.

At this week’s planning committee councillor Reece Harley said the clock saga, which has been floating around almost a decade, was “best described as a debacle.”

The bumpy road began when the public transport authority commissioned the clock as a public art component of the Mandurah railway. It was to go near the horseshoe bridge, and be hooked up to the world’s most accurate atomic clock at UWA.

In 2010 the PTA backtracked on the location after chatting with “stakeholders”, and a crisis cadre of top state planners, the lord mayor and a UWA academic looked at 10 alternative spots, but they couldn’t reach a consensus.

Perth council eventually settled on the Point Lewis roundabout at Riverside Drive, but Main Roads kicked up a fuss saying it would be a distraction for drivers at the already-problematic roundabout.

Eight years since conception it’s now approaching the too-hard basket, and Perth council wants to hand responsibility to the culture and arts department. It’ll vote next Tuesday on that possibility. The smart money is on the clock never seeing the light of day, given a move in the public art realm towards creating sculptures suited to their surroundings rather than coming up with a work and finding somewhere to plonk it.

by DAVID BELL

 

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