The Vancouver Park Board has postponed plans to build a giant public art sculpture at Emery Fields in Hastings Park, due to a lack of public consultation.
The vote to defer the decision on the $450,000 piece to a later date was approved 4 to 3.
Green Commissioner Michael Wiebe wants to move forward with the “Home and Away” bleacher style piece.
“A lot of the talk that we got and a lot of the emails that came to me were on the funding and the amount of money that was and what we could use in different ways. I think that is the tough part to state, is how much public art is worth, but I do think that public art in the city has been amazing.”
Vision’s Catherine Evans also wants to approve the installation of the “Home and Away” bleacher style sculpture.
“I think that what we’ve done today might give people a feeling that what we are going to be asking for is a bit more like a referendum, and that is not what happens with public art.”
Wiebe’s colleague, Stuart Mackinnon, says it was the toughest decision he’s ever had to make at the park board table.
“I supported the motion to defer the decision until after some public consultation, so I could have a better understanding of what the people, especially in that neighborhood, want for their park.”
NPA Chair John Coupar says he agrees with Mackinnon, the commissioners and the public need more time.
“This is a project that is paid for by the City of Vancouver, it doesn’t come out of the Park Board budget, but our responsibility is parks, so it is our role as commissioners to make sure that we are thinking about this carefully.”
Local artist Lyse Lemieux says the board should have trusted staff who recommended its approval.
“I think that in this case it is not about public consultation and engagement, it’s about listening to the staff who have done there research. This is a commissioned piece, the stakeholders have been consulted, so what they are suppose to be doing is accepting and saying yes to the fact that yes we want public art in that spot.”
The bleachers would stand nearly 15 meters tall and feature a bright blue “Home” section and bright yellow “Away” section .
It could seat at least 150 people at a time.