You won't believe how much it costs to save this rusty bird
RATEPAYERS could face a half a million dollar bill to replace the Kirra Eagle or "Rusty Chook" which overlooks one of the Gold Coast's most famous surfing breaks.
In March this year council for safety reasons began investigating the popular artwork created by Gold Coast artist Craig Medson in 1983. Ms Medson died in 2015 but his estate retains copyright and moral rights to the work live on for 70 years.
Council officers in a report said the sculpture was constructed from 6mm 'Austen One' plate steel and its distinctive 'rust patina' results from protective surface oxidation that develops during exposure to the atmosphere.
The eagle stands atop 4m twin steel beams angled into a concrete base.
Council, responding to safety concerns, commissioned Blue Skye View and their consultants found the Rusty Chook has no more than five years remaining life and "repairs and replacement of degraded sections would cause the artwork to lose its integrity and original intent"
Given the typical lifespan of most public art is 30 years, a peer review found the artwork had performed very well in the extreme conditions but could not be saved.
An exclusion fence has been installed around the sculpture due to falling pieces of steel, and consultants recommended relocating the structure indoors with "appropriate climate controlled conditions".
"From this perspective, all options for retaining the sculpture in its current position or any other public space are exhausted," officers in their report said.
Councillors at a lifestyle and community committee meeting on Thursday will consider the following three options:
• Rehouse the sculpture at a cost of $20,000.
* Create a new sculpture at a cost of $500,000 which would take about two years to complete.
* Commission a replica at a cost of between $300,000 to $500000 which would ease community concern but create the need for ongoing maintenance.
Council officers have begun talks with the Mr Medson's partner about copyright.
They believe the best option is the first one. It would include putting a Sea Eagle graphic design in the new Kirra Hill picnic shelter with a plaque celebrating the original.
Originally published as Eye-watering cost of saving famous artwork