Calls for the council to spruce up Rabbie’s napper look to have fallen on deaf ears after a city councillor said it would cost tens of thousands to clean – and claimed the bird droppings on his head could be the work of one rogue seagull.
Last month, to celebrate Burns Day, the Tele called on Dundee City Council to clean the Robert Burns statue at Meadowside after birds had targeted his head with droppings.
But councillor Lynne Short, who serves the city’s Maryfield ward, has said our campaign is unlikely to bear fruit as it would cost the council over £20,000 to clean due to the fact the statue is coated in a type of wax which erodes when cleaned with soap and water.
Ms Short said: “Way back in 2009 we got some external funding to clean the statue, which cost £20,000.
“Due to the height, we would need to set up scaffolding to meet health and safety standards.
“If the Oor Willie statue next to him was dirty we could just use soap and water, but we can’t do that with Rabbie.”
The tribute, which was unveiled in 1880, is a popular spot for many visitors to the City of Discovery.
It is one of four identical statues of the Bard which have been erected across the world, with others being built in London, New York and Dunedin.
But his appearance has been somewhat smeared over the years and Ms Short said: “We think that it could be one rogue gull or pigeon who’s taken a liking to Rabbie.
“Obviously, if it was something else we could put a spike on it, but we don’t really want to do that.
“We can’t expect the Bard to have a spike coming out of his head.
“Maybe we could take after our friends in Glasgow and put a cone over his head.”
Ms Short added: “Unless someone comes along and maybe crowdfunds it, it’s probably going to stay that way.
“It would be hard to justify taking money out of the public purse to pay for the cleaning.
“It is my ward and I’m proud of it, but I do think that for a while Robbie will stay the way that he is.”