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North Cowichan rejects monument at Waterwheel Park

Artist
Artist's concept of what the proposed, 3-D Emily Carr Monument might look like in the Waterwheel parking lot.
— image credit: Photo submitted

A request to erect a giant monument to B.C. artist Emily Carr in Chemainus' Waterwheel Park was rejected by North Cowichan council Tuesday night.

"That's it," Mayor Jon Lefebure said Wednesday morning.

'"Council passed a motion last night saying it did not support the monument going into Waterwheel Park."

Council discussed Chemainus Advisory Committee's rejection recommendation during Tuesday's Committee of the Whole meeting.

That recommendation was based on public feedback during a recent meeting, the mayor said.

"The committee said overall public opinion was against placing the monument in Waterwheel Park.

"We rose and reported, and that made it an official council meeting (decision)," Lefebure explained if the monument's nixing.

Council did not discuss Schutz's funding request for the 50-foot statue matching Mural Town's Carr theme.

Council was concerned some Penelakut First Nation folks said they felt excluded from the $300,000 Carr statue project.

"It's back in Karl Schutz's hands to get First Nations support," Lefebure said.

Mural pioneer Schutz said he's sorry about any misunderstandings the Carr project has created with Penelakut members. He plans to meet with tribal elders once a new project society is formed and registered.

"We thought we were well connected to Penelakut council through (monument sculptor) Dennis Nyce's fiance, Nadine Karen (a Penelakut), and both are Global Emily Carr Family-Tree members.

"We apologize if the Penelakut tribe felt neglected — that was definitely not our purpose."

Meanwhile, he remained optimistic a place and purse can be found for the controversial Carr statue.

"We're very encouraged about feedback from lots of people.

"We're moving forward, with the emphasis on 'we' — this is not a Karl Schutz project, it's a community project and we have a lot of letters of support."

But some vocal Chemainiacs basically called the monument ugly, saying it would would be out of place in Waterwheel.

The monument's design won't be changed, Schutz said.

"We don't like to play around with the proposal from the artist. The scale is right, for the right location.

"We'll see what the new group recommends on how we proceed.

"We're looking for a new site and we hope it's in Chemainus. We want to make it as beneficial to downtown as possible," he said.

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