Sculpture to celebrate past planned

Outram Charitable Trust chairman Dean McAlwee relaxes on a potato digger at the Taieri Historical...
Outram Charitable Trust chairman Dean McAlwee relaxes on a potato digger at the Taieri Historical Museum and Park in Outram last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A sculpture celebrating the history of market gardening in West Taieri is being planned for Outram.

But Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board member Maurice Prendergast says "celebrating the demise of an industry touches a nerve''.

Outram Charitable Trust chairman Dean McAlwee tabled a proposal for board members to consider at a board meeting in Mosgiel last month.

The proposal asked the board to give the trust $2500 and delegate it responsibility to advance a board art trail project by building a sculpture in Outram.

The sculpture would be part of the board's project to build a modern arts trail, with a heritage theme, between Wingatui and Outram.

The $2500 would pay for schist ($800), vintage machinery ($650), concrete ($600) and timber and consumables ($450).

Mr McAlwee, of Outram, said the sculpture would celebrate the history of market gardening in West Taieri, and relevant parties would be consulted over the form it took.

Vintage farming machinery used in West Taieri had been offered to use in the sculpture, he said.

A decision on the best site for the sculpture was pending and Outram residents would be consulted, he said.

Mr McAlwee, a board member, was excluded from the board's decision because of a conflict of interest.

Board chairwoman Joy Davis said the sculpture would be a "positive'' way to celebrate the "hard work'' of past generations.

Mr Prendergast disagreed.

Fertile farming land in West Taieri had been lost with the encroachment of residential developments.

"To celebrate the demise of an industry touches a nerve,'' Mr Prendergast said.

Council representative Cr Mike Lord said Mr Prendergast's feeling was misdirected.

"If you are looking at someone to blame, Maurice, you blame the residents of this country, who chose to use supermarkets rather than market stalls.''

Farmers had moved away from market gardening because it was uneconomic, he said.

Cr Lord moved the board give $2500 and delegate responsibility to the trust to build the sculpture.

Board member Martin Dillon seconded the motion, which was passed unanimously.


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