It’s back to the drawing board – again – for mural plans on the side of building slated for downtown Cumberland.
At a meeting in October, Village staff and council were not satisfied with the renderings local artist Josh Klassen had put together in conjunction with a developer, who needs the mural as part of a heritage alteration permit with the Village. A permit was originally approved in November 2019. The wall treatment is to be finalized before a development permit for the building project at 2700 Dunsmuir Ave. can proceed.
The latest renderings incorporated some of the suggestions brought up last month, such as more direct references to the community’s mining heritage. While some elements drew positive reviews, for most on council the new designs were still not quite what they want to see on the side of a building that is to be highly visible along Dunsmuir Avenue.
Coun. Vickey Brown pointed out there are other murals in the community, and having to approve one was not something council typically held as a responsibility.
“We’ve never approved a mural that’s gone up on any building in Cumberland before…. I really don’t think it should be us,” she said.
Other members of the council recognized the dilemma and did not want to hold up the process for the proponent of getting a development permit for the building.
“I think we need to move forward so he can start building,” said Mayor Leslie Baird.
At the same time, they were cautious about making a decision too quickly about the mural.
Coun. Jesse Ketler too did not want to delay the permit process but said, “I think it’s an important piece of art for the Village, and we don’t want to rush that.”
In lieu of approving any of the four designs right now, the Village can move ahead with the development permit process and have the developer pay a security to cover future project costs. The proposed amount, based on consultations with the artist, was $5,000 with a built-in contingency representing 125 per cent of the security, adding up to a sum of $6,250.
Coun. Jesse Ketler questioned whether this would include supplies in addition to design and labour.
“It just seems like quite a low number for such a large wall,” she said.
Others on council did wonder whether the security would be sufficient and if they would find themselves short at whatever point the mural moves ahead. Ketler was concerned the Village needs to “get the security part right” and that they did not have the information they needed at this point.
Council approved a motion for the revised heritage alternation permit, to collect a security deposit for the wall project and have staff provide a report about a process to finalize the mural’s design. Ketler opposed the motion.