The committee responsible for the City of White Rock’s gateway archway design sent it back to the proponent this week, because the sign lacked a certain local flavour.
Gateway feature selection committee members Bob Bezubiak, Couns. Grant Meyer, Bill Lawrence and Lynne Sinclair were in agreement that the design options released to the public last month were not unique to the “City by the Sea.”
The city’s public art advisory committee chairman Jim Adams did not attend the committee meeting, keeping to his word that he would skip gateway selection committee meetings, partly because of the perceived haste in which the process is being conducted.
The committee Wednesday went over public input collected online and at the city’s information meeting May 15.
From May 10-25, a total of 57 questionnaires were completed. The city reported very little negative feedback on the questionnaires.
Gateway committee members bounced ideas off each other for the better part of an hour, with the goal of making the sign more “White Rockish.”
City chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill kept a running list of suggestions as the meeting carried on.
Lawrence suggested installing some type of digital display panel inside the columns of the structure, which could be used to display not only local art but upcoming city events.
“It might be a bit of a stretch, but it’s something to think about,” Lawrence told committee members.
Bezubiak commented on the city’s artistic community, and suggested that the pillars could possibly incorporate art from Semiahmoo First Nation. He also suggested changing the lighting of the structure to something of a more nautical theme, like a lighthouse.
Sinclair wondered if there was a way to embed ceramic art into the pillars, suggesting metal work to give the sign a local flair.
After the brainstorming session, Bottrill went over his list of committee suggestions, which will go back to the proponent.
The suggestions include replacing proposed Victorian-style lights with some that keep a nautical theme; incorporate artistic metal work that resemble ocean waves,; remove the words Johnston Road and Arts and Culture; and seek details on embedding or attaching art to the columns.
City planning and development services director Carl Johannsen said the city needs to be careful to do everything according to purchasing policy and law. He said they can make design changes, so long as it’s substantially the same design.
At one point in the meeting, city watchdog Roderick Louis, sitting several feet away from the discussion, interrupted the conversation.
“The contract was done before you had a design agreement, how can that be right?” Louis shouted. “That’s crazy, how can you hire a contractor to build something if you don’t have a design.”
Bottrill stood up and stared at Louis, and Meyer said, “That’s enough out of you Roderick, thank you.”
Following the meeting, Meyer called PAN and said council has yet to award the contract for the gateway.