Crabby over new costs

03. 819NEWS

• The ‘free’ art by Gillie and Marc that’s costing ratepayers more than $20,000 to borrow.

VINCENT council has a problem with crabs and it could cost thousands due to a one-sided contract.

Last year NSW artists Gillie and Marc offered the council a trio of sculptures featuring dog and rabbit people riding giant river crabs. The same artists did the popular nude bike buddy sculpture on Beaufort Street.

The crab riders is for sale for $90,000 but the artists offered to lend it to Vincent long-term and it voted to stick the work at Birdwood Square.

Last year the council voted to spend $10,500 to ship over the free art and install it—all save Cr Ros Harley who warned colleagues “nothing is for free”.

The council entered a contract with the artists, but the staff who wrote it badly disadvantaged the council, agreeing to all the costs. Now the artists are saying an extra $8000 is needed for installation and, according to the contract, Vincent must pay.

Vincent CEO John Giorgi had wanted the item to be heard confidentially, banning the press and public from the room, but Cr Harley moved it be heard publicly.

“I think the use of confidential agendas should be limited,” she said.

“In this case I can’t see anything in here that’s confidential.

“People need to know the true cost of a free offer to the City of Vincent and understand that we never get anything for free… and I don’t support any more money being spent on this as I didn’t support the original item.”

Cr Josh Topelberg reminded colleagues that last time the council bought art from Gillie and Marc it had had to dig deeper to stabilise the wobbly work.

“Given that history I’m flabbergasted… if the artist’s estimate is out by $8000, why should we as the city be bearing 100 per cent responsibility?

“We’ve spent $3025 on a legal agreement which essentially says ‘whatever you guys say, we’ll pay for.

“I haven’t seen the contract so I can’t comment on it, but it seems to me that it’s heavily weighted against the city.”

He moved the item be deferred so the council could write to the artists and express concern about the cost explosion. Cr Harley also asked that councillors be provided a copy of the contract.

by DAVID BELL

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