Public art requested for Abbotsford firehalls

Coun. Dave Loewen raised questions after construction of two new halls omitted art required by city policy

A pair of new fire halls will get public art

A pair of new fire halls will get public art

The call has gone out for public art proposals for two new firehalls after the question was raised in the spring whether the city had contravened its own policies.

A city policy adopted by council in 2011 stipulates that one per cent of the budget for any new capital projects must be set aside for public art displays.

But when the policy came back to council in May for a regular review, Coun. Dave Loewen asked whether the new Mt. Lehman and Matsqui firehalls had any such art. Fire Chief Don Beer said no art had been included.

A request for proposals elicited only a single response that was “not appropriate,” he said. The money was set aside for future projects, but the city has not issued a call to include art in the firehalls.

A request for proposals (RFP) posted online states, “The artwork should relate to the history of the community, site, architecture and uses of the building on the grounds, Fire Hall and the community of users … Besides being creative, the artwork is to be low maintenance, durable and vandal resistant. The artwork may encourage gathering and dialogue.”

Both established and emerging “artist/designer teams” can submit proposals, the RFP says.

With the two firehalls constructed for a combined cost of $3.3 million, a budget of $15,380 has been set for the artwork at each site.

Completion is set for the end of August.