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Five Corners public art project featuring a giant five approved by council

Design for ‘Meetcha at the 5’ went back for review and emerged again as the strongest contender
The night view of ‘Meetcha at the 5,’ a public art proposal approved June 1, 2021 for installation at Five Corners in downtown Chilliwack (City of Chilliwack)

City council reaffirmed support for the ‘Meetcha at the 5’ public art proposal for Five Corners.

It had been sent back to the drawing board for another review in March after several members of council had questions and criticism.

But after conducting a review of the top art submissions, the majority of council approved the ‘Meetcha at the 5’ design, with a vote of 4-2.

It was revealed in the council discussion that the artists behind the giant 5 design had a long history in Chilliwack, and had lived most of their lives in the community, which addressed some of the early criticism about where they were based, or if it was relevant to Five Corners.

The proposal was compared against the other short-listed proposals, and once again the 5 proposal emerged as the strongest contender, said Coun. Sue Knott, chair of the public art advisory committee.

“The committee felt it was the best choice, and something to be very proud of,” Knott said at the council meeting, adding that the artists for the 5 had put forth “a very strong proposal.”

One of the appealing elements is that at night it can be lit up from within using different colours, Knott said. It could be purple for Purple Light Nights month in October, or it could be orange to recognize Orange Shirt Day.

Committee co-chair Harv Westeringh pointed out the piece was “relevant” to Five Corners.

“I can’t wait to meet someone at the 5,” Westeringh said.

Mayor Ken Popove and Coun. Chris Kloot voted against.

Acknowledging art was “subjective” Mayor Popove said he still didn’t think it was “a good fit,” while Coun. Kloot said he appreciated the work of the committee, he remained concerned about the timing of the art project, and being seen as “spending money” this way.

Coun. Knott reminded council the $60,000 cost had already been approved by council, and budgeted for, so that angle was irrelevant.

The original 10 designs for the coveted space at Five Corners went through City of Chilliwack’s Request for Proposals (RFP) process in early 2021. That narrowed it down to four, given engineering requirements and other criteria, and the majority of the committee selected the ‘Meetcha at the 5’ as the top design in the first go-round.

Typically council would support a committee’s recommendations, but that was not the case here.

But on the heels of the June 1 vote in favour of the 5, the installation will now proceed.

RELATED: Designs coming back for consideration

RELATED: Questions raised about ‘Meetcha at the 5’ design

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Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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