October 20, 2014 - 1:06 PM
KELOWNA – A public art work in downtown Kelowna is undergoing repair work caused by residents and tourists who can’t seem to look without touching.
Bear is a six metre sculpture next to Stuart Park on Water Street. According to building services manager Martin Johansen, stone pavers at the base have been broken repeatedly since the statue was unveiled in 2010.
“Nothing has happened to the bear itself, the artwork is intact and has never been damaged,” Johansen says. “But the platform around the bear has been an ongoing maintenance problem.”
Johansen says he believes the damage occurred when people who had climbed atop Bear for a photo jumped down.
“They see it and they want to get a picture of themselves on it,” he says. “It’s been going on since Stuart Park opened.”
According to Johansen, the stone pavers at the base of the sculpture were not designed to support the force of an adult dropping several metres.
“There is basically a void between the pavers and the installation and so when somebody would jump off of the bear they would land on an area that wasn’t designed for somebody to be jumping onto from any height,” he says. “Sometimes it would crack, sometimes it would break and other times it would just push the structure down into the installation. Then it would have to be taken apart and rebuilt.”
Repair work has already begun and as crews add sand under the pavers to increase support at the weak spots, they are also taking the opportunity to repair another ongoing issue with the structure.
“The lighting has been a problem as well,” he says. “It’s right under the bear and if it gets moved or jolted… we’ve had some issues of water getting in there as well so we’re going to take care of that at the same time.”
Bear was created and unveiled in June, 2010 by Rhode Island artist Brower Hatcher.
Repair work is estimated to cost around $40,000 and expected to be completed by early November.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014