File photo An archway to provide a more elaborate welcome than those currently on offer at the North Bluff Road-Johnston Road intersection is one option being considered by White Rock council and the city’s Public Art Advisory Committee.

Archway mulled for White Rock gateway

Public Art Advisory Committee seeks council guidance

Could the new gateway to White Rock actually be a gateway – including some kind of decorative arch?

That’s one of two items the city’s Public Art Advisory Committee is asking for city council direction on.

The committee would like to have council determine a budget amount and provide more details of its vision for a gateway public art project, before going ahead with a public call for artists to submit proposals.

The committee is also calling on the city to approve funding up to $100,000 from the Public Art Reserve Fund to hire an artist to develop a public art piece that will recognize the women of the Peace Arch Hospital Auxiliary and their 70 years of fundraising for the hospital.

At Monday night’s meeting, council endorsed a recommendation from chief administrative officer Dan Bottrill that staff prepare reports on both requests in time for next week’s meeting.

The arch concept came up when planning and development services director Carl Johannsen presented illustrations of current and proposed streetscapes and setbacks for the city’s Gateway Project at the committee’s Feb. 21 meeting.

Slides included potential positioning for the foundations of an archway – one option for the upper Johnston Road area to be mulled by council.

In discussion at the committee meeting it was noted that while a basic tubular steel archway could be constructed for $100,000, a higher-quality designer arch might cost closer to $500,000 – and might not even fall under the category of public art.

Chair Jim Adams added, however, that since such a project would evoke the character of White Rock for many years to come, specifics of dimensions, timeline, cost – and the way the city chooses to represent itself – ought to be settled before a public call to artists is put out.

A draft White Rock Design Challenge Package was created five years ago to encourage artists to submit gateway designs and – while a contest didn’t go ahead at that time because more information on the design of the surrounding area was required – it was suggested that this could form the basis for a new artists call.

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