Outrage after sign bolted to White Rock 'Whaling Wall'

A realty sign bolted to the Whaling Wall in uptown White Rock last week had residents fuming. - Tom Saunders
A realty sign bolted to the Whaling Wall in uptown White Rock last week had residents fuming.
— image credit: Tom Saunders

White Rock residents were up in arms over Easter weekend after a commercial realty firm’s sign was bolted to the city’s iconic “Whaling Wall” mural.

The ‘For Lease’ sign, on behalf of Colliers International, was installed Wednesday, obscuring part of the mural of a whale pod painted on the side of an uptown commercial building 30 years ago by internationally noted nature artist Wyland.

By Monday morning, the sign was down and the eight bolts holding it to the wall, at the corner of Johnston Road and Russell Avenue, had been removed.

“It was a terrible mistake,” Kirk Kuester, executive managing director for Colliers in Vancouver, told Peace Arch News.

“The sign has been removed and if there is any damage to the mural the damage will be repaired.”

Kuester, who was away from his office for an Easter vacation, said he had received a barrage of calls and emails from concerned residents as word spread that the sign had been bolted to the mural.

Numerous angry comments were posted to Facebook over the weekend, after a comment and photo by White Rock blogger Dave Chesney were shared on the site, I Grew Up In south Surrey /White rock/Langley/Cloverdale/Crescent Beach.

“The reaction was very quick,” Kuester said. “You have a community that is very passionate about the wall.”

Kuester said he couldn’t explain, without further investigation, how the decision was made to bolt the sign to the mural.

“There are usually three to five people involved in deciding where (such) a sign goes, including a third party, our sign company,” he said. “I can’t say how this was decided, or who decided it, but that’s immaterial. We wanted it removed as quickly as possible.”

Kuester said it was not possible to get a crew out Sunday to remove the sign, but it was done at the first opportunity the next morning.

“Our goal is to remedy this and restore the wall to its original condition,” he said.

The mural – fourth in a series of 100 whale walls painted around the world between 1981 and 2008 by Wyland – was dedicated in September of 1984, and received restoration work by the artist in 2007.


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