$100K set aside to spruce up big fruit sculpture

Cromwell’s landmark big fruit sculpture was last painted in 2016 at a cost of $37,000. PHOTO:...
Cromwell’s landmark big fruit sculpture was last painted in 2016 at a cost of $37,000. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Cromwell's big fruit sculpture is set for a tart-up.

The Cromwell Community Board has set aside $100,000 to clean, paint and lacquer the town’s fruit sculpture, double the amount originally allocated for the maintenance.

At a meeting last week, the community board approved an additional $50,000 funding for the 2021-22 financial year.

That was on top of the $50,000 already allocated to do the work in the previous annual plan.

The sculpture was last repainted in 2016 at a cost of $37,000 and before that in 2004.

The 2018-28 long-term plan provided for funding of $50,000 every five years.

A further proposal for cleaning and applying a clear lacquer in 2019-20 to help reduce fading was not included in the final plan.

The Central Otago District Council recently received a quote for $94,500 to clean, paint and lacquer the sculpture.

Council parks officer Marie Gordon stated in her report there were a limited number of contractors to choose from and the company that had carried out the work five years ago was no longer operating.

The council had approached four contractors, who declined to provide a proposal. Eventually a coating specialist, who was working on another council project, agreed to supply the quote.

At the meeting she said ‘‘the fruit had certainly lost its gloss since 2016’’.

It was thought that annual cleaning and the application of a lacquer coating every two years would reduce fading and the need to repaint as often, therefore reducing the cost next time.

The Gore District Council budgeted $16,000 every second year to lacquer its trout sculpture, and $2000 every other year to wash it down. This approach required a 10-yearly investment of $88,000 by the Gore District Council.

Differing environmental conditions would need to be taken into consideration in Central Otago.

Cromwell Community Board chairwoman Anna Harrison said she was concerned the additional $50,000 sought was ‘‘a large jump’’ but the sculpture was ‘‘looking a bit faded’’.

In discussion, other board members said they were struggling to justify the amount, although

it was eventually agreed by the majority to go ahead with the clean, paint and lacquer job and at the same time to investigate further cost of maintenance through the annual plan process.

The funding source for the request was the Cromwell general reserves account, which had a forecast balance of about $4.8million.

- By Mary-Jo Tohill

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