Residents of Sundridge are being asked to help council determine the future of the Northern Triptych Sculpture. The sculpture, which overlooks Lake Bernard and is part of the Children's Centennial Garden, was erected in 1989 to celebrate the municipality’s 100th birthday. But over those 30-plus years the sculpture, which is about 20 feet high, has developed cracks and has lost a piece. As council debated its options, Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson suggested this is one of those times the public should be asked for its input. Staff gave council four options on the sculpture, the fourth called for removing it outright and replacing it with something else. This is the direction Jackson was leaning toward but he wanted to know how the public felt about the sculpture. Mayor Lyle Hall says the sculpture is to provide inspiration to residents in the Almaguin region and believed, as the public's representatives, council should make the decision. Coun. Steve Hicks agreed, but added in this instance he was willing to gauge the public's pulse. Hicks said art is subjective and although he made a point of saying he's not afraid to make a decision on the matter, “with this I don't feel I'm a proper representative of the public.” The sculpture cost $9,500 in 1989 dollars to create and install. The least expensive option before council is to repair the fatigue cracks and replace the missing piece for a total cost of $1,000. Council could also spend $5,000 to $6,000 to refurbish the entire piece which, in addition to replacing the missing piece and fixing the cracks, would also reinforce, sandblast, black coat and seal the sculpture. A third option is to simply have it removed and do nothing else. The final option involves replacing the sculpture with something else. Coun. Barbara Belrose said if council was looking at replacing the sculpture, a gazebo might be the appropriate structure to put up at the site. Staff will turn to the public for its input and post details on the municipal website explaining how residents can participate. One possibility is to ask residents to fill out a short online survey. There's also a town hall session taking place at the next meeting of council July 21, and Jackson is hoping it's not too late to get the public's opinion at that event. The goal is to bring the issue back to council in August for a final decision.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget