$119K artwork mistaken for chimney

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 13:13 06/07/2012
LUNA Sculpture
LISA HONEYBONE/Fairfax NZ

CONFUSION: Albany commuters have mistaken a $100k limestone sculpture for a chimney.

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A new $119,500 sculpture at the Albany Park and Ride is being confused for a chimney.

''It looks like a smokestack or something,'' commuter Sarah Lee Russell, from Albany, said.

The seven metre-high limestone sculpture, called LUNA, was commissioned by Auckland Transport and was recently erected in a new extension of the park and ride.

Artist Caroline Robinson was commissioned to create the piece and she said, earlier this year, it was intended to ''communicate within the Oteha Valley, relating a quietness and steadiness, in dialogue with the earth, the water, the tall trees of the forest as well as the surrounding buildings and structures.''

Upper Harbour Local Board chairwoman Margaret Miles said: "There was a question mark from the local board in terms of the cost and whether it was appropriate  to spend money on public art but we recognised that it's one of the goals of Auckland Transport to include art in big car parks like that.''

The price of the sculpture was included in Auckland Transport's $5.5 million budget for the extension of the park.
Miles said the board was concerned it would take up car parks and commuters would not be able to stop and look at the tower.

''I'm sorry but if you're ... wanting to catch a bus in the morning I don't think you've got the time to start reading about what this structure is.''

She said the sculpture story was ''quite special'' although she didn't really understand it. And she is not alone.

Even Albany councillor Michael Goudie faced questioning from residents on his Facebook page.

''150g for a statue at Albany park and ride ??? Foundations more than my driveway ??? Whats going on. Plans look like a chimney to me [sic],'' a local wrote.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said a plaque explaining the sculpture  would be placed on the tower and a story sandblasted on to a window pane at the bus station.

The remainder of the extension is due to open early August and it will bring the total car parks at the site to 1100.
The Albany station car park first opened in November 2005 with 370 car parks.

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