Auckland City Council bureaucrats are making one last bid to rid Aotea Square of its signature art work, Terry Stringer's Mountain Fountain. Today, Stringer is to be taken on a tiki tour of possible new sites for the work - mainly along the Eastern suburbs waterfront - by public art manager Pontus Kyander and advisory panel for public art chairwoman, Trish Clark.

Ms Clark says it would look "fantastic" looking out to sea, but to Stringer that is not the point. He, like the rest of us, was assured as recently as last August that the work would be back, pride of place, in the renovated square by October 2010, and he's demanding some public consultation before the work is moved. I agree.

The new reason for moving the work - the winner of the 1979 competition for a sculpture for the square - is that it's to blame for the water leaks into the carpark underneath, now being repaired at a cost of $45 million, and the engineers don't want to see it ever again.

A report to Wednesday's art, culture and recreation committee meeting puts it more politely. It says "the rationale" for moving the fountain "relates to the impact of the structure on the event space, and the structural issues relating to the artwork and the need not to compromise the waterproofing of the carpark roof".

To reinstate the work "considerable redesign work would be required by the artist to accommodate the water reticulation mechanism within the structure of the art work."

To that, my first instinct is to give them the number of my plumber. The fountain is hardly the Huka Falls. If those being paid a king's ransom to waterproof the carpark can't ensure there's no spillage from the art work, then let's find someone who can.

As to its impact "on the event space", this is harking back to the original concerns of the designers, hankering to create a place for mass rallies. When the issue went to public consultation last July-August, it seemed the designers had been willing to concede they'd lost.

The consultation documents at the time had the fountain in pride of place. "The draft design proposes relocating Mountain Fountain closer to the Aotea Centre than at present, to give it more prominence."

This was in marked contrast to the scorched earth proposals of the original makeover plan of May 2005. Then, Stringer got a letter from the council announcing his work was being "decommissioned" - art bureaucratese for bulldozed. That was at the height of the Nuremburg rally-type square. Stringer, with great restraint, told me at the time, "It's a shame these things don't last beyond one generation."

Fans of the sculpture protested and, as a result, the politicians reined in the bureaucrats and designers and the work seemed safe.

Last August, when the work was crated up for safekeeping, City Scene, the council's news-sheet, bragged how the city was "following best practice guidelines to ensure the works are moved and stored safely" during their temporary absence. It emphasised how closely officials had worked with the artists of this and the other removed art works.

Stringer says the first he knew of the new plans to exile the work was in April, when Ms Clark approached him. He reminded her of the promise the council had made to him to put it back in the square and said he would be guided by the public. He asked for another round of public consultation.

None took place. The next he heard was late last week when he was shown a copy of the report to Wednesday's meeting. He says without consultation, "I'm not supporting the moving of the sculpture out of the square. It's undermining all the connection people made with it, all the shows of fondness.

"My loyalty is to the people who bonded to my sculpture and expressed their hurt when they heard it was being shifted, and came to meetings and vocalised. I feel I can't move in any direction unless they're kept in the loop."

He says he was offered another commission by Mr Kyander but turned it down for fear he might be seen to be colluding with the decision to move the fountain.

Committee chairman Greg Moyle says he's very disappointed the artist "feels he's not in the loop" and says he would be "very keen to support more public consultation". On Wednesday he has a chance to prove that.