'Paperclip' signs cost $40,000 each

MIKE WATSON
TAUPO REPORTER
Last updated 05:00 16/08/2012
Taupo paperclip sign
MIKE WATSON/The Dominion Post

The signs were approved by Taupo District Council last year in time for the Rugby World Cup.

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Taupo's paperclip visitor guides are designed to hold a lot of information. But the cost of the 13 3.5-metre-high paperclip signs is attracting more attention than the clips themselves.

One resident has complained that, at about $40,000 apiece, they are about the price of a new car.

Jack Laugesen wrote in a letter to the local paper that the clips were a "disgraceful waste of money". It was no wonder the town was indebted and homeowners were paying high rates, he said.

Another resident, Bill Lomas, said he could not understand the expense being approved when Taupo was heavily indebted.

"We are the second-most-indebted council in the country. I cannot believe the cost and where the value of money spent is.

"In tough economic times, council should be spending money more sensibly."

The signs were approved by Taupo District Council last year in time for the Rugby World Cup. Twelve have been placed near the shopping centre and the final clip will be installed soon.

They describe Taupo's early history, including tales of prominent residents, Maori and Pakeha, who helped shape the town, as well as photographs, maps and directions to tourist attractions.

Council urban design and development manager John Ridd said $224,000 was spent in the development stages.

This included $15,000 on a prototype design, $35,000 on researching local history, writing and graphics, and $174,000 on project management including maps, prototypes, painting and lighting.

The remaining $297,000 included $199,000 for manufacturing and installing the clips, and $98,000 for work done on the project by council staff.

"If we were to make and install more clips, the cost would be only $15,000 each," Mr Ridd said.

He would not comment on ratepayer criticism about the installations. "They are designed to be interactive art pieces, as well as wayfinders to highlight points of interest on local history and stories.

"The idea of using a paperclip as the design is because a paperclip holds a lot of information and seemed an appropriate structure."

Contact Mike Watson
Taupo reporter
Email: mike.watson@dompost.co.nz

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