The Ariadne Steam Clock – near the western entrance of the Tunnel – has been controversial since it was first commissioned by the Waterfront Enterprise Board in 1996 at a cost of £250,000.
It was passed into Ports of Jersey ownership in 2016, however, the organisation said last year there were no plans or funds to repair the clock, which has fallen into disrepair and no longer works.
St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft, who has previously said the parish would be interested in it as a project, has described the Steam Clock as an ‘asset’ to Jersey, adding that it serves as a reminder of ‘our maritime past’. He said that to get rid of it when all it requires is ‘basic maintenance’ would be a mistake.
‘If we were successful in forming a group of volunteers who would be happy to give up some of their time to paint it and contribute to its general maintenance, the main cost would be to treat the water, the cost of which is not beyond what the States can afford.’
More recently, Ports of Jersey confirmed it had been approached by a hospitality group wanting to build a hotel on the site.
Mr Crowcroft’s call to save the clock also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the alfresco law being passed in Jersey – allowing Islanders to eat and drink outside. He added that he believes moving the clock goes against the parish’s efforts to ‘improve the public realm’. He went on to say that if the idea were a success, he would like to name the volunteer group ‘The Friends of Ariadne’ – after the ship on which the design of the clock is based.
‘St Helier needs more water features and it is essential that we preserve this open space. It is important for residents, as well as the local businesses along the Weighbridge,’ he said. Mr Crowcroft plans to meet Ports of Jersey in early September to discuss the idea further and has requested that anyone who is interested in becoming part of a volunteer group email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.