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Saanich mulls art for Craigflower Bridge

Money slated for public art project linked to new bridge

Residents living near the Gorge Waterway may get one more chance to provide input on a design element of the new Craigflower bridge.

An application from the arts, culture and heritage committee, in conjunction with the Gorge Tillicum Community Association, went before Saanich council Monday requesting that public art be incorporated into the project.

“The sense was with this bridge, here’s an opportunity to tell drivers they’re entering Saanich and that they’re entering a neighbourhood,” said Coun. Vic Derman, who chairs the committee.

Community association president Rob Wickson says given the historical nature of the area – with Craigflower Manor on the View Royal side and the schoolhouse on the Saanich side – it’s a perfect opportunity to recognize the local roots.

“It should include some First Nations recognition, and maybe some historical recognition of our European past,” Wickson said. “We want to see the bridge to become a place, as opposed to a road. It’s going to be a car place but it needs to be a people place.”

Derman says the request to council, which happened after the News press deadline, is asking for support in setting up a jury system to select public art.

Saanich has a policy that one per cent of the value of a municipal project goes toward the purchase, commission or maintenance of public art.

The $10.7-million Craigflower Bridge reconstruction project is funded mostly by federal gas tax money.

The existing narrow, two-lane bridge is 79 years old. It’s slated to be replaced by a three-lane bridge, complete with bike lanes and wide sidewalks.

Construction was scheduled to begin earlier this month, but Saanich and View Royal delayed the build till 2013.

It has not yet been announced whether construction, slated to last six months, will begin in January or June of next year.