The Peachland Community Connects Society’s proposal for a mural festival won’t be going ahead this year, council learned at last Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
The society came to council members last month hoping for their endorsement of the Making Waves mural project and permission to use some of the district owned buildings as possible canvases.
Chief administrative officer Joe Mitchell recommended that should council wish to entertain a decision on public art, that a policy be implemented prior to proceeding.
He added that given their current workload, staff wouldn’t be able to complete all of the research and policy creation that would be required for a 2021 mural festival.
However, the Tourism and Economic Development Committee (TEDC) has volunteered to complete the background research on a policy, including review of similar policies from other municipalities in the province, and council directed them to complete the research with input from the Peachland Community Arts Council.
From there, conceptual information and recommendations will be provided to staff for the actual policy creation prior to bringing it to council for endorsement, said Mitchell.
The public art policy wouldn’t just address the proposed mural festival but would establish a long-term vision for public art in Peachland and provide a clear framework.
“I’m all in favour of us developing a public art policy, as long as it’s understood that that doesn’t necessarily mean council support for the mural project, because I for one do not support what I’ve seen as being proposed artwork for the mural project,” said Councillor Keith Fielding.
He went on to say that while he wasn’t the least bit impressed with the examples that were presented to council, there may be scope for other artwork that the new policy would deem to be suitable for Peachland.
“I need to be convinced that murals would be beneficial, artistically, culturally and from an economic development perspective before lending wholesale support for it,” said Fielding.
Councillor Terry Condon said the presentation about the proposed Making Waves festival was efficient, effective, quite simple and quite demonstrative, but he too seemed to be in need of further convincing.
Councillor Pam Cunningham said it has to be the right mural in the right place and conceded that the choices the presenters came up with weren’t everybody’s flavour.
“Some murals can beautify buildings that are maybe not very attractive,” said Coun. Cunningham. “I think going down the path of being a bit artsy is a huge economic driver . . . I think it all depends on how you do it.”
Councillor Mike Kent expressed general support for the idea but said it needs to be completed by reputable artists, be put in the right place and be an expression that is suitable for Peachland.
“I think this would be a major tourism draw,” said Mayor Cindy Fortin.