By a recorded vote of 6-4, Barrie city councilors approved the “Love Barrie” sign at Heritage Park.
The Council heard four deputations Monday, two in opposition to the sign, or at least to its location, and two in favor.
Councilor Ann-Marie Kungl’s amendment to install the sign at Town Hall was rejected, with Mayor Lehman and Councilors Keenan Aylwin and Claire Riepma in favor.
The cost of the historic eight-foot sign is to be collected by Councilor Mike McCann, a pledge of $ 200,000, and 75 percent of donations are due to the city by October 10.
Only then will Access Barrie staff issue a request for proposal to find a company that can provide three sign concepts. The sign must be installed in the waterfront park before July 1, 2002.
McCann tried to convey to people opposed to the sign or its appearance that no final design was chosen.
“Anyone debating the appearance of the sign, we have no idea what the sign looks like, as we haven’t decided on the final photo yet. “
There is $ 15,000 to set aside starting in 2022 to cover the costs of potential graffiti removal and winter maintenance in and around the sign.
Councilor Sergio Morales reminded council that $ 30,000 of taxpayer money was spent on a much controversial Soapbox public art sculpture in February 2020, which consisted of three aluminum crates, coated with powder and painted. He said the “Love Barrie” sign is a private sector funded initiative.
Mayor Jeff Lehman voted against the panel, along with Councilors Keenan Aylwin, Claire Ripema and Ann-Marie Kungl.
Councilors Barry Ward, Jeff Harris, Mike McCann, Sergio Morales, Robert Thomson and Gary Harvey gave the thumbs up.
Councilor Natalie Harris was absent.
McCann has previously said he has at least $ 100,000 in verbal donations with the support of businesses and residents who want to get involved in the project.
“For me, it’s an inspiration,” he told the board on Monday. “More important than inspiring, it’s fun.”
“He is surrounded by love, which is the love of Barrie. What it brings is connectivity. That’s what the sign means to me.
Councilor Jim Harris said there were two groups he had heard of as the idea for the panel and that is the business community and the arts community.
“I think what I love about it is the potential to be active and vibrant and support local art,” said Harris. “The report talks about including an art tour in this particular article. This comes from comments from the Barrie Public Art and the MacLaren Art Center. It’s not Advisor McCann or anybody else from the business community. It was the arts community that was talking about having an art tour in Barrie that includes this article.
McCann asked staff to repeat why Heritage Park was chosen as the choice for the “Love Barrie” sign.
Access Barrie CEO Rebecca James-Reid told city council the main reason Heritage Park was selected was based on consultation with the public art committee and the MacLarens.
“But also because of the original motion that was put forward by council, and we were trying to tick the boxes in that motion. One of those key characteristics was having the water in the background, ”she explained.
James-Reid said in consultations with the public art committee and the MacLaren, there were concerns about placing the sign at City Hall with its densely packed space.
“We landed on Heritage Park also because of the proximity to the city center and, in the original motion, as you will recall, Meridian Square said, and we did not recommend it because it was very busy with people. other important elements for the city. “
The mayor was disappointed with the sign.
“I don’t think we should be doing what everyone else has already done,” Lehman said. “It’s not innovative. It’s not innovative to say that everyone has one and that I want one too.
“I love Barrie and I don’t want us to be like everyone else. I want us to be better. I want us to do something different.
Councilor Claire Riepma stuck to her guns in her opposition to the brand.
“I think the evidence is pretty clear. People don’t come to Barrie to have their picture taken with a sign, ”he said. “It’s not something we want on our waterfront and not something our citizens want on our waterfront.”
McCann told Barrie 360 this weekend that he would like to host a fundraising launch on Canada Day.