Councillors give Ward sculpture a bagging
Do you think that the 'Mike Ward' sculpture gives the councillor an unfair advantage in the run up to the election?
A Mike Ward look-alike wooden "sculpture", designed by the man himself, is causing consternation among some city councillors who feel it is giving him an unfair advantage in the lead up to the election.
The sculpture, which is part of a wooden relocatable seat in Bridge St, was a topic among the few councillors who attended yesterday's city council audit, risk and finance committee.
In answer to councillor Rachel Reese's query over whether it was appropriate to use council property for promotional purposes, councillor Paul Matheson said a simple solution was to "just put a bag over its head".
The Nelson Mail gave it a try.
The quirky seating area, installed in April, is being trialled as part of the Nelson City Council's attempts to brighten the bar area of Bridge St. The $12,000 temporary seating area consists of a wooden platform, six planters, big old jarrah timber wharf beams, a former lampstand, and a wooden statue bearing an uncanny resemblance to councillor Mike Ward.
Committee chairman Ian Barker said given its "likeness to a candidate" and the current pre-election period, he queried if it was appropriate for the seat to remain in a public area.
Council chief executive Clare Hadley said because it had been in place for several months, and not recently installed, and because there was nothing to say it was in fact Mr Ward, then the seat could remain where it was.
Councillors also asked why the seat had remained in situ since its advent, when the aim was to move it to different areas of Bridge St.
Council network services executive manager Alec Louverdis said it could be shifted anywhere in the city, but the intention was to relocate it in Bridge St. The cost to move it was however, fairly high.
The Mail reported earlier that Mr Ward came up with the concept for the seating area, which was built with the help of Nelmac workers and project manager Peter Coubrough.
"It is wholly coincidental that it looks like me," he said.
Mr Ward said that he needed someone to model it on, and there wasn't anyone else around.
While the seat was a temporary measure, the council would still go ahead with its bigger plan to upgrade the Bridge St bar area.
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