Spending £10k on shark bench is ‘ridiculous’

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Paying at least £10,000 for a new piece of art that is a bench is ‘ridiculous’, agreed Port Erin commissioners at last week’s meeting.

The bench, in the design of a basking shark, would be a piece of public art commissioned by the regeneration committee and half the cost would be met by the local authority.

There are also plans for a second piece of art to be placed in the grounds of Scoill Phurt le Moirrey, to be part funded by Port St Mary commissioners.

Regeneration project manager Steven Stanley wrote to Port Erin and Port St Mary commissioners suggesting ‘each local authority give consideration to submitting a regeneration funding application for their respective art piece. I would encourage this to be for 50 per cent of the costs with the rest being met by the respective local authority’.

The costs, as quoted by artists Graham Hall and Matt Owen, are: £5,000 per project to provide a ‘detailed sketch and outline proposal, liaising with local commissioners and other interested parties to a maximum of 10 man days’ plus £5,000 per project to ‘make a full scale model, work out a full project plan, specification and obtain a price for manufacture’, plus 15 per cent of the overall cost to ‘oversee the manufacture, finishing and installation of the project.’

This means each authority would pay at least £5,000 – provided the further £5,000 regeneration funding is approved. Mr Stanley wrote: ‘It is important to note that this does not include the cost to manufacture, finish and install the public art pieces.’

Port Erin commissioner Nick Watterson said: ‘These costs are ridiculous … I cannot for the life of me understand why we should pay money like this.’ He added he has previously investigated a ‘sculpture trail’ in the village and artists could produce their own work ‘rather than this scenario we have been shovelled down’.

Clerk Jason Roberts pointed out: ‘It’s £5,000 per project and £5,000 for a model and planning, plus we do not know what these extra costs are.’

Phil Crellin said: ‘I hate to think we would throw £5,000 away for nothing. We do not know where we are going.’

Mr Watterson proposed they turn the proposal down and he was seconded by Mr Crellin.

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