A plan of the proposed treble clef public art destined for the mini plaza next to the Downtown Askew’s.

Big red treble clef proposed for downtown plaza in Salmon Arm

Idea is to pay tribute to artisans in the community

Music will be in the air later this summer at the small plaza next to the downtown Askew’s.

Bill Laird, owner of Shuswap Park Mall on Lakeshore Drive, told city council of his plans to install a large art structure in the spot where the mall sign used to stand.

In its place will be a tall, red treble clef, a musical notation, with the first few musical notes of O Canada adjoining it.

The structure will be 44.5 feet (13.5 metres) high and 29.5 feet (nine metres) wide.

The former Askew’s freestanding sign was approximately 30-feet high, which council approved in 2002 with a sign bylaw variance.

City staff say the new structure is considered public art, not a sign.

It will be posted with the same foundation and position as the former sign. A new mini-plaza is proposed for underneath and surrounding the art piece.

At the foot of the art is proposed a piano for public use which will sit under a covered structure.

The art piece will be constructed of powder-coated aluminum slightly more than one-inch thick and will weigh a little over 1,000 lbs.

It’s expected to be ready in August.

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“I want this to represent the artisans in town,” Laird told the Observer, noting it’s intended to encompass all the creative endeavours such as writers and visual artists, not just musicians.

When Alexander is closed for community events, the treble clef will be a fitting symbol visible to people on the street, he said. “This is a happy symbol.”

Council members were unanimous in expressing their approval of the plan for public art.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren asked if there’s any appetite to make it smaller, based on a negative comment from the public regarding size.

“I’m not sure why we do that,” Laird said.

Mayor Alan Harrison said he appreciates the plan, adding, “I think big is good.” He said people would see it from the highway and be drawn to the city.

Asked about lighting, Laird said two spotlights will run up the face of the art piece on the Alexander Street side.

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The concept of the art piece came from Warren Welter, Laird explained, while the design is being handled by Adam Meikle and his brother Chris, in concert with an engineer.

Although a building permit would not be required for a public art installation on the city’s boulevard, staff recommended to council that three conditions be met if the installation were to be approved.

One, the installation be approved by a structural engineer, two, appropriate liability insurance be obtained ‘saving the city harmless,’ and three, a maintenance and ownership plan be proposed to council.

Laird agreed to the terms, stating he would be willing to maintain the structure for the next 10 years.

He said he didn’t like to promise longer than that, given that he’s moving on in years.

The work now ongoing at the site is to prepare for the mini-plaza and the treble clef.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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Salmon Arm’s Bill Laird holds a 3D print-out of what will be a large red treble clef accompanied by the musical notes for O Canada, to be mounted in the public area next to the downtown Askew’s. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

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