Hope artwork will look ‘striking’

Giant canvas . . . Dunedin artists Katrina Thompson and Ross Sinclair look over the Ross Creek Reservoir dam face, where their design reflecting the southern stars will be depicted in dozens of powder-coated steel stars. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

A pair of Dunedin artists whose giant artwork depicting the southern night sky will be installed on the enormous canvas of the Ross Creek Reservoir dam are excited at the prosect.

Artists Katrina Thompson and Ross Sinclair were among a crowd of about 50 people, including Dunedin City Council staff, councillors and contractors, who attended a reopening ceremony for the refurbished dam on Tuesday morning.

The artwork, which will be installed next year, will feature dozens of powder-coated steel stars, arranged to reflect the southern constellations above Ross Creek.

“It’s going to occupy the whole slope and will hopefully look really striking,” Thompson said.

“It’s very exciting, and we are grateful for the opportunity.”

She and Sinclair would consult with mana whenua to ensure the artwork accurately reflected the most significant star clusters above Dunedin, she said.

DCC relationships adviser Cara Paterson was delighted with the planned artwork, saying “the beautiful thing about this project is the wonderful mixture of art and nature”.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull told the gathering the $9million, three-year strengthening and repair project marked an important milestone in the DCC’s security-of-water-supply strategy.

This aims to ensure the city has an alternative option if problems arise getting water from Dunedin’s main water sources at Deep Creek and Deep Stream.

The pipes from Deep Creek and Deep Stream travel a long distance through potentially unstable land, and could be vulnerable a major earthquake, storm, or slip.

“So having a secure back-up supply for the city is crucial,” Mr Cull said.

DCC 3 Waters group manager Tom Dyer said the Ross Creek Dam was originally built in 1867, but the 250,000 cubic-metre reservoir had been out of action for about 20 years.

discovered in the dam in 2010, it was determined that strengthening the dam to current safety standards would be the most effective way to secure Dunedin’s water supply.

Mr Dyer said the dam-strengthening project had been a major endeavour and he paid tribute to the council team behind it, led by engineering project manager Camilla Bennett.

He also thanked the public for their patience while some Ross Creek tracks were closed for the work.

“Not only is Ross Creek an important asset for the city, we cannot underestimate the heritage and amenity value of the area,” he said.

“While some tracks have remained open, others have been closed and we’re grateful for the public’s consideration and patience.”

The project received several awards, including this year’s Institute of Public Works Engineering NZ “Excellence in Maximising Asset Performance” category.

DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose said she was “incredibly proud” of the staff, who had worked so hard to make the project a success.