The controversy over the John Fowler locomotive is not over yet despite it being given has a new lease of life after some some red hot debate at council. The Wellington councillors debated a spend of more than $150,000 on the engine and passed a motion to go ahead with it.
But the mayor, who wasn’t at the meeting, says she has delivered a rescision motion for the next council meeting against the borrowing of $100,000 for the engine and to proceed with the $52,000 of work.
The costs for its reconstruction and makeover were escalating and last night Cr Augee said “trouble was foreshadowed”.
“It is ridiculous to spend this money, it’s highly-controversial,” he said. Cr Augee was supported by Cr David Grant and Cr Lisa Austin.
The council’s general manager Mike Tolhurst explained that one of the issues was that council had no real provision for the ongoing operational cost of the locomotive.
Cr Griggs objected to council dithering on the issue and passing it on to the next council. The motion of Cr Griggs eventually passed 4-3. Cr’s Drysdale and Jones did note vote because they were absent. The council was to spend $152,724 on the engine including $52,724 in the 2012/13 budget towards restoration work. But now that is in limbo.