Sidney is looking to wrap more utility boxes in public art, and replace other vinyl wraps in need of repair, such as this box across from the Landmark Building, featuring “Bathing Ladies,” by Krista Janssen. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Sidney needs new artists for utility box makeovers

Town to repair old, faded wraps

As Sidney municipal planner Yazmin Hernandez inspected some utility boxes this month, she said residents told her how much they loved the art. She said they were surprised to learn that some of the wraps, including “Bathing Ladies” outside the Landmark Building, were placed 11 years ago. The plan is to reprint the original wrap.

As part of a beautification project, the Town of Sidney plans to replace fading wraps and cover other utility boxes with public art. They’re calling for artists to submit their proposals.

“We want to stay true to the spirit of Sidney and recognize the seaside nature and character, but we’re also looking for different interpretations of what Sidney is,” said Hernandez. The Town is encouraging local artists from the Saanich Peninsula to apply, and she especially encouraged emerging artists and First Nations artists to do so. The submissions should invite interaction and play on the location, nearby landscape/streetscape and the shape of the box.

Since 2006, the Town of Sidney’s utility box beautification project has wrapped 28 utility boxes, and they are looking to wrap more. Some are larger than others, said Hernandez, with the largest being the BC Hydro boxes, and the smallest are Telus boxes. Still others are electrical boxes that control the streetlights, and others are sewer pump stations.

Sidney staff have identified these boxes as candidates for wrapping: Utility box at 9818 Third Street

Utility box on Seventh Street near Beacon Avenue

Utility box on the Beacon Avenue frontage of Mariner Village Mall

Utility box at the northwest corner of Third Street and Beacon Avenue

Pump Station at 9344 Lochside Drive

Pump Station at Ocean Avenue near Fifth Street

Wrapping a large utility box costs about $1,500. The Town is seeking support from BC Hydro, as they have a program to beautify some of their boxes. Corporate support from RBC, Travelodge Victoria Airport and Best Western Emerald Isle has made it possible for the project to offer an artist stipend, listed at $500.

Installation will likely take place in the late spring, as it must be done when the temperature is higher than 10 C. The Town’s website has details on the submission guidelines and selection criteria, including a list of some the boxes that will be wrapped as part of this project.

The Call for Artists is open until 1 p.m. on Nov. 6. For more details on the project and the Call for Artists visit sidney.ca/2018calltoartists or contact Yazmin Hernandez, Municipal Planner at (250) 655-5419 or yhernandez@sidney.ca.

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

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