With the approval of North Bay City Council during Tuesday's regular meeting, a donated public art installation will grace North Bay's waterfront and, according to one of the driving forces behind the initiative, will lead to similar projects sprouting up.
"This is a really good opportunity to work with a wonderful organization," said Coun. Justine Mallah. "As we know, art brings together a community, it ignites conversations. This particular project will start more projects between the City and various members of our community."
On January 10, Clean, Green, Beautiful North Bay presented to the City of North Bay's Public Art Advisory Committee a proposal for the purchase and installation of a sculpture designed and created by Claude Millette.
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Hariett Madigan, the chair of Clean, Green, Beautiful North Bay says, "Our committee is intending that the sculpture be installed at the waterfront this spring and that it will be another beautiful meeting place for our community. More public art to come in the future of our great city."
Three potential sites were considered but, ultimately, the PAAC's preferred location on the busker stage west of the pedestrian tunnel and east of Memorial Drive (see photo above) got the nod. Also considered were the grass area beside the entrance to the Heritage Railway parking lot and the elevated grass area adjacent to the boat launch parking lot.
"The sculpture is a contemporary piece representing our railway beginnings, our heritage, and why North Bay is located where it is," says Madigan. "Our CGB committee was unanimous in our choice of artwork by Canadian artist Millette."
CBG member Nathan Jensen has said about the Millette sculpture, "We love the form of the sculpture as it speaks to the organic nature of the waterfront."
In August 2022, the YMCA and Clean, Green Beautiful North Bay combined forces to unveil a mural located at the side of the YMCA building off Chippewa Street in North Bay. This public art initiative also featured partnerships between the Stockfish Family Foundation and artist Carissa MacIntosh.
Council authorized an agreement between the City of North Bay and Clean, Green, Beautiful that establishes, "City ownership and maintenance of the donation of the sculpture once installed and constructed to the City of North Bay’s satisfaction," per the associated staff report. "The financial implications for the City, with regards to the proposed option, will be the ongoing potential maintenance of the grounds, structure, and base material surrounding the sculpture. We anticipate these costs to be minimal due to the construction material of the sculpture."
Both Deputy Mayor Maggie Horsfield and Coun. Tanya Vrebosch supported the initiative but cautioned about the potential insurance and financial ramifications — such as maintenance and upkeep costs — of accepting gifts. Horsfield suggested the establishment of a donation policy to protect the City's interests.
In this case, the cost of the installation will be borne by the community groups.
With files from Chris Dawson