Tall piece of public art planned for Village Square 

A $65,000 piece of artwork slated for Village Square has raised the ire of one Whistler councillor because of its nine and a half metre height.

"I think this thing is really misconceived," said Councillor Nick Davies, explaining that the only reason to have a tall structure is to attract people from a distance.

Davies said you have to be inside the square to see this piece of artwork.

The piece of art stretches as high as three storeys and partially blocks the views of two suites at the Hearthstone Lodge.

Davies said it does not have enough artistic merit to stick it in front of two people's views in Village Square.

"I'm shocked that we would spend the taxpayers’ money that way," said Davies.

He proposed sending the design back to the Public Art Committee for review but he could not drum up any support for his motion at the council table on Monday night.

The pubic art piece is a tall narrow structure covered by a translucent fabric. This fabric will be illuminated by light from within and the piece can serve as a lantern or a beacon. It is slated to go beside the existing map board, located in the square between Citta's and the liquor store.

The municipality put out a call for artists in January 2003 and received 36 submissions from interested parties in the region, the Lower Mainland, Alberta and Washington State.

Three teams were then invited to submit a proposal, which was reviewed by a jury.

The project from Zero Studio, a Vancouver-based company, was ultimately selected.

Councillor Ken Melamed raised concerns about the designers using PVC as the translucent fabric in the design and suggested nylon or polyester as a replacement.

"There's an environmental cost to using PVC," he said.

Melamed tried to ease Davies’ concerns about the structure saying that the municipality could ultimately move it if they didn't like it in the square.

"I think it's kind of interesting, myself," said Melamed.

"I don't claim to be an expert on art... (but) let's try it (and) live on the edge."

The project has not been commissioned yet and is contingent on the progress of the Village Square redevelopment.

Known simply as the kiosk, the artwork is part of the overall Village Square redevelopment project, which includes upgrades to walls, planters, patios, landscape and seating.

The kiosk will be a focal feature of the square.

Another public art component of the square is the Whistler Legends project, which will feature 11 local legends in glass blocks placed in the pavement.

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