City of Surrey nixes plans for $90K traffic circle art

While it’s no longer going ahead, the project has been replaced by another

Red arrow shows concrete foundation for artwork that was proposed to be installed in the traffic circle at the intersection of 156th Street and 108th Avenue in Fraser Heights

Red arrow shows concrete foundation for artwork that was proposed to be installed in the traffic circle at the intersection of 156th Street and 108th Avenue in Fraser Heights

SURREY — The city has cancelled its plans for a $90,000 art project at a Fraser Heights traffic circle.

“We’ve moved on from that one,” Surrey’s art services manager Sheila McKinnon told the Now Tuesday.

This, after the proposal proved controversial.

The city had posted an artist call for an installation at 156th Street and 108th Avenue but took heat on social media for spending nearly $100,000 for such art.

“Really? How’s the food bank doing? Bet they could use $90,000 and there would be a few less starving residents of Surrey. but nah, lets put something ‘pretty’ in a random traffic circle so the privileged can drive by and look at it… “ Desiree Bliss wrote on the Now’s Facebook page at the time.

“How can anyone think spending this much money on art for a roundabout is a good idea?” Murray Fane wrote. “We live here and we DO NOT want our tax dollars, 90,000 of them, spent on ‘art’.”

See more: Surrey to spend $90,000 on public art for the middle of a traffic circle

While it’s no longer going ahead, the project has been replaced by another.

The city met with some Fraser Heights residents this week, said McKinnon, and the “unanimous decision was they wanted to have the next public art installation located at the recreation centre around 160th just north of Highway 1.

“They see that as the gateway for their community,” she added.

McKinnon said the city also wanted to get a sense of the theme the community was interested in for the artwork and key words that came up were “nature, community and diversity.”

“So we’ll use that for the artist call.”

While the project has changed, the $90,000 budget remains the same, McKinnon said.

Surrey’s public art collection totals more than 60 pieces and McKinnon said the city is updating its master plan this year.

Last summer, the Public Art Advisory Committee went on two tours of the city to identify sites for the future installation of public art. With this information in mind, they’ll work to create the next-generation Surrey Public Art Plan, to build on the first one, created for the years 2012 to 2016.

Click here to read more about Surrey’s public art program.

With files from Tom Zillich