A work of art to be installed in Reykjavík, featuring two palm trees in giant terrariums, will cost 140 million ISK, half of that paid by the city.
While certainly pretty, the cost is raising criticism from opposition party members of Reykjavík City Council: 140 million ISK, with half of that to be paid by owners of the plots where the trees will be erected, and the other half to be paid by the City of Reykjavík itself.
Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir, Reykjavík councilperson for the Socialist Party, questioned the expenditure in light of the current housing shortage in the city.
“I think that a lot of low wage-earning city residents would rather live in a warm, secure place, rather than look at wildly expensive reminders of a warm tropical environment,” she posted on Facebook. “This prioritisation of city spending is not in touch with the reality we face today, and I wonder what the city could build or how many apartments it could buy for the money it’s putting into this project.”
The announcement of the palm trees comes fresh on the heels of a scandal in which it came to light that the City of Reykjavík wildly overspent on the refurbishing of a restaurant and café in Nauthólsvík.
Discussions and heated debate about the palm trees can be expected in City Council in the days to come.