Council votes to remove controversial $2.1m sign
Council votes to remove controversial $2.1m sign

Council votes to remove controversial $2.1m sign

GOLD Coast councillors have voted to remove the controversial Yatala art light installation during a meeting today.

In a closed session at the Transport and Infrastructure Committee Meeting on Tuesday, councillors debated what to do with the $2.1m light installation placed between the north and southbound lanes of the M1 at Yatala.

The initial vote was to remove the installation and place it into storage at a cost of $255,000, with an additional decision made to repurpose it to the benefit of the community.

The lights have been widely panned since their installation because of their placement between the roads, which means motorists cannot read the words 'Gold Coast' when it's lit up.

"You can't even read the signs if you're driving on the highway," Tamara Williams from Slacks Creek said. "To me it just looked like a whole bunch of lit up poles sitting in a slab of cement in the medium (sic) strip.

"I actually had to look up what they were on the internet to find out what they were there for."

She said the only way you can read the sign is by standing stationary and directly in front of it.

Other residents have complained about the artwork on social media, saying you can't read the sign even if you are stood in front of it.


The controversial lights at the M1 in Yatala. Picture: Mike Batterham
The controversial lights at the M1 in Yatala. Picture: Mike Batterham

"The fact it looks like it is doubling up on letters from that perspective shows the artist went through the thought process of making the sign double sided," said one commenter on Reddit. "Yet he/she nor anyone else in the approval process seemed to comprehend the fact that the northbound lanes are going to get backwards text."

Councillors had to weigh up the costs involved in moving the lights into storage, relocating them or leaving the installation there.

The cost of storing it would have been $255,000.

At the transport committee meeting, as debate began, veteran councillor Dawn Crichlow said it would cost another $1 million to find a location.

"What a joke," she said.

Officers said the challenge was finding a new location that was large enough and had electricity supplied to it.

The resolution was council work with Main Roads to reduce the cost.

Councillors also voted to place the lights in parks for the benefit of the community.

The sign's fate will ultimately be decided at a council meeting next week.

Gold Coast council conducted a worldwide search to find the right design for the $2.1 million installation ahead of the Commonwealth Games last year.

It was originally hoped to create a city icon on par with the Hollywood and Welcome to Las Vegas signs.

The winning design was created by New York-based LOT-EK artists Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano who have named the project HI-LIGHTS.

Mr Lignano said the idea was a "rethinking" of the light poles, cantilever arms, and fixtures found along the highway.

"On the highway to the Gold Coast, you might see the same light fixture hundreds of times, until seeing a hundred such fixtures, uniquely arranged, means you'll never see them in the same way again," he said when the council unveiled the plans.

The installation is 100m in length and has 97 poles.