One Sooke art installation was set for demolition while another was raised for consideration at the last meeting of Sooke district council.
Laura Hooper, the district’s head of parks and environmental services, reported to council a tile mosaic, created for Ed Macgregor Park in 2003 by the students and teachers of Journey Middle School, experienced severe weather and root damage and needed to be removed.
The mosaic at the entrance to the park was originally constructed with the financial support of local businesses on collaboration with artists Bara Fallows and Richard Mackenzie.
Hooper said, despite the best efforts of staff to repair the art installation, it had reached a point where it was no longer repairable or safe for park users.
“We reached out to the original artists and to some other mosaic artists to see if it could be repaired, but it is simply too far gone,” Hooper said.
She said the location of the installation was largely to blame for its condition as a combination of weather and tree roots combined to damage the work.
“The placement under the trees was not ideal, and perhaps we can recreate it at some point in the future in a more appropriate location,” Hooper said.
Hooper reached out to the principal of Journey Middle School and was asked to salvage as many of the tiles as possible for a display at the school.
“We’ll be trying to remove them as gingerly as possible, and if they don’t crumble, we’ll certainly be returning them to the school.”
Mayor Maja Tait agreed it was sad to see the mosaic go, but note it was a wonderful piece of art that lasted for 16 years.
“It really is too bad, but repairing it in its current location would only be a short term solution. Down the road, we can look at recreating it somehow in a new, more appropriate location,” Tait said.
But as one art installation was slated for removal, council considered a recommendation spearheaded by Coun. Megan McMath to approach Rogers Communications to investigate whether the mono-pole celltower at the corner of Otter Point Road and Wadams Way could become part of an imaginative work of art.
“That pole is pretty boring and there was a thought that it would be sort of fun to have some lumberjacks hanging on the pole,” said Tait with a chuckle.
“I don’t know, but there should be something we can do to make it more interesting and fun.”
McMath echoed the sentiment: “It’s boring right now, but consider it as a blank canvas. My favourite ideas are either the lumberjacks or branches with bears climbing up the pole,” she said.
In other municipalities around the world, the towers are disguised as evergreens or palm trees or incorporated within bell towers, turned into giant flag poles, and in one instance turned into part of a giant giraffe.
District staff was directed to reach out to Rogers Communications to investigate the project.