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Super-sized planning problem

04 Sep 2014

Super-sized planning problem Image

By Bethany Williams

Walker Corporation has been left red-faced after erecting a 56-tonne sculpture worth around $2.5 million, without the correct planning approval.

Construction of the approximately 80-metre-long artwork “Supersonic” at Collins Square began in March, but the developer is currently seeking an amendment to the planning permit, because the current structure wasn’t approved.

The bright yellow, geometric-shaped structure forms a canopy between Tower One and the Lantern Building at Collins Square and is made up of around 100 pieces.

Docklands News understands that under the current planning permit, Walker Corporation had permission to build an awning-like structure, but not to construct Supersonic.

Docklands News understands that although Walker Corporation obtained a building permit for the artwork, the structure was not allowed under the existing planning permit.

A council spokesperson said the building permit obtained from a private building surveyor was inconsistent with the planning permit.

“The artwork has not been built in accordance with the planning permit,” the spokesperson said.

“To remedy this situation, an amendment to the planning permit has been lodged with the Minister. The City of Melbourne is currently assessing the revised plans and will provide comment to the department in due course,” the spokesperson said.

Walker Corporation failed to address multiple questions asked by Docklands News about the artwork, including whether the structure was safe and if local residents and workers should be concerned about the structural integrity of the artwork.

Walker Corporation director of marketing Sarah Seddon said: “The art installation by renowned sculptor Dion Horstmans is progressing well. We are excited about the way it has already created a unique and instantly recognisable meeting place and highlights the restaurants at Collins Square.”

The artwork currently appears to be suspended by temporary measures but, according to artist Dion Horstmans, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

He said load testing was currently taking place, before glass was installed across the top of the structure.

Interestingly, Planning Minister Matthew Guy attended the launch of construction of the artwork in March, but it’s unknown if he was aware at the time that the structure was not approved under the planning permit.

“Resolving this issue now rests with Walker Corporation,” Mr Guy said.

Mr Guy did not provide a response when Docklands News asked if he was aware at the launch that the planning permit for the site did not allow construction of Supersonic.

He also failed to address whether he planned to amend the planning permit for the site.

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