Is it worth an extra $100,000 to get a bigger welcome to Kelowna sign? | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Is it worth an extra $100,000 to get a bigger welcome to Kelowna sign?

This is the size and scale of the new Kelowna entry sign staff is recommending.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
November 20, 2020 - 9:30 AM

The design of a new sign marking Kelowna’s northern entrance on Highway 97 has already been accepted by city staff with a price tag of $250,000.

Kelowna city council will have the option to increase the size of the sculpture when they review the project on Monday, Nov. 23. That could cost as much as $100,000 more.

City staff is recommending that council not spend the extra money.

This is the largest of three options that will be reviewed by Kelowna city council.
This is the largest of three options that will be reviewed by Kelowna city council.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

Kelowna’s entry sign was removed in 2018 and a process was started to replace it.

Artist Ted Fullerton’s design, called “Imagine,” was brought to council in April 2019 with a budget of $250,000. It includes the word Kelowna and a number of semi-abstract figures.

READ MORE: Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of public art making its way to Kelowna

But council had concerns about the way the piece was selected and the possibility that it would be lost in the tall grass and other vegetation next to the highway.

The staff report going to council defended the selection of Fullerton without a bidding process. Because it’s both a sign and a piece of art, the report states, staff needed more input than when dealing with a normal piece of public art.

The design was presented to and reviewed by 10 members of the City’s 24-member Public Art Roster. Normally, public art is selected by a five-member jury in a competition.

“The abstract quality of the artwork and how these figures relate to Kelowna, became a key topic of further discussion among the group after the presentation,” the City report states. “The figures should be representational enough to be legible from a distance, but abstract enough for multiple interpretations to avoid the staleness often associated with passing the same object numerous times. The artist’s work is meant to allow the viewer to project their own persona onto the artwork.”

Fullerton has made submissions on other public art projects, ranked high in the selection process and has “both the experience and ability to successfully implement the proposed artwork,” the report states.

Staff is presenting three size options to council and recommending the word Kelowna be 6.7 metres long and the poles that figures sit on be 3.65 metres tall.

The option to create the biggest sign, at a cost of an extra $100,000, would have a sign that is just over 10 metres long with the posts being 5.47 metres high. An intermediate option would cost an extra $50,000.

Council was also worried that people would want to stop along the highway to take pictures. Tourists will be able access the site off Dry Valley Road where there is room to park, the report says.

Staff's recommended option from 250 metres.
Staff's recommended option from 250 metres.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

The largest option from 250 metres.
The largest option from 250 metres.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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