Public art committee chair Sue Knott took the reins of the discussion about the Five Corners art project on March 16, 2021. (City of Chilliwack)

Public art committee chair Sue Knott took the reins of the discussion about the Five Corners art project on March 16, 2021. (City of Chilliwack)

Chilliwack council sends back ‘mall’ style design for Five Corners public art

It’s back to drawing board for Chilliwack public art committee to reconsider submissions

It’s back to the drawing board for the Five Corners public art project.

The design proposal “Meetcha at the 5” was referred back to the public art advisory committee. Art is always a very subjective thing, as several councillors pointed out at the Tuesday (March 16) council meeting.

The Five Corners proposal with a giant 5, is going back to the public art advisory committee for re-evaluation, after the comments around the table were somewhat critical, for various reasons.

Coun. Chris Kloot questioned the $60,000 cost, even though the funds were already budgeted in the Five Corners Intersection project.

“I feel we are sending the wrong message,” he said about the expense during a pandemic, and later added he was happy to see it referred back for more information: “It needs to be the right choice and at the right time.”

Coun. Jason Lum acknowledged the challenge the public art committee faces, but felt it could be referred back to “personalize it more” since the “high profile” location merited something with more artistic value with meaningful text.

Investing in something like this as a council, “we should all love it.”

Coun. Harv Westeringh, who sits on the public art committee noted it was “a little late in the game” to be switching gears. He pointed out there were four viable submissions, and they picked the best piece.

Coun. Jeff Shields said he didn’t like to second guess the committee’s recommendation but said the giant five reminded him of a “mallish” type work, and questioned it given the effort to bring back the heritage aspects to downtown.

Coun. Bud Mercer got “sticker shock” from the $60,000 price, adding he like the rest of council, had supported this proposal, but found it was kind of plain. “Maybe if it was cheaper. It just doesn’t do anything for me.”

After complaints about the cost, the timing, the non-art aspects, mallish type feel and more, Coun. Sue Knott, chair of the public art advisory committee took the reins and put council back on track.

As committee chair she proposed that council vote to refer it back to committee, and take the top three choices for another look. There were 10 submissions that came out of the request for proposals (RFP) process, six did not pass technical muster, leaving four viable options.

But council had already agreed on the $60,000 price as part of the Five Corners Intersection project, and it’s also an RFP that needed to be honoured, she said.

“I feel like due diligence is important,” Coun. Knott underlined but if it has to go back for retooling, so be it.

The scoring on the proposals will be set to zero, and the three top choices will be brought back to council for a decision at a future meeting.

READ MORE: Latest public art proposal on deck

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The night view of Meetcha at the 5, a proposed public art project for Five Corners. (City of Chilliwack)

The night view of Meetcha at the 5, a proposed public art project for Five Corners. (City of Chilliwack)