What a Waste

Update at 11:26 am on August 11: Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne just stated on Newstalk 1010 that this is an unnecessary expense. She has cancelled it and has ordered the TTC to withdraw the ads seeking the consultant. 

 I have a problem when the focus is on subway construction when capacity needs are sufficiently met for the foreseeable future by LRT, but even LRT can have its costly waste.

It was reported in yesterday’s Star that the TTC is seeking a qualified consultant to choose art for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. I have great concerns about spending any money on a frill such as this, but just wait to hear what they are spending: the two-year consultant contract pays $420,000. That is just for the consulting work, and does not include what will be spent on actually purchasing and installing any art work.

It makes me wonder if the space for artwork wouldn’t be better used for advertising. I know there are those who are opposed to being inundated with ads everywhere, but is being inundated with what someone else feels as artistic any better? At least advertisements don’t cost us to put up and actually bring in an ongoing stream of revenue. Perhaps there could be a special contract that requires advertisements to somehow be artistic. I’m sure there are a few ad agencies that would jump at the chance to get in on that, and instead of us forking out a few million dollars (which I am speculating will be the total cost of consultant and chosen art), it costs nothing up front and we get a permanent revenue stream.

I would be willing to take that contract for half its amount, but even that is a waste.

2 Responses to “What a Waste”

  1. W. K. Lis Says:

    So it looks like it will be back to the original Yonge station “washroom” designs?

    Cal’s comments: Tiles are expensive - probably more like a concrete bunker design. Even with the art, it will likely be art put up on the walls of the concrete bunker.

    One interesting suggestion came from Newstalk 1010’s John Tory this afternoon: If and when it is decided that art will go in these stations (Wynne suggested that it could easily be added after the line opens), the city’s art community could offer its services for free to do the consultation and decide what is selected.

  2. Joe Clark Says:

    Sure. Because artists should get paid nothing, while engineers and cabinet ministers draw a salary.

    Cal’s comment: Absolutely not! Artists should be paid for the art they do. If it is decided that such art should be in our stations, they most certainly should be paid for their work.

    What we are talking about here is NOT paying someone to pick and choose which of those artists will be paid for their work and which will not. Now, if we were to have a volunteer committee make that decision, would it not be in the best interest of the artistic community to have a few of their own on that committee? Or would we rather have the brothers Ford and their ilk take care of that? This may not be fair to the Fords, but I suspect many would expect their choice to be along the lines of dogs playing poker or something involving a velvet matador.