After past missteps, Fort McMurray unveils latest public artwork

When it comes to municipally-funded art, Fort McMurray, like other communities, hasn’t always hit the mark.

But the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is hoping community members get behind its latest effort, Reflections on the River, a two-storey steel sculpture on the MacDonald Island Park causeway, unveiled Friday.

With the Athabasca and Snye rivers as a back drop, the metal sculpture designed by artist David Robinson, features a paddler in a canoe skimming atop a water surface.

“Art, generally, can be controversial,” Scott said. “I think this reflects the best of public art. It’s in the right place. There’s been lots of consultation.”

Most reaction so far to the sculpture, commissioned for $375,000, has been positive, said ​Nabil Malik, vice-chair of the public art committee.

The committee learned from less successful attempts at public consultations, Malik said.

Nabil Malik, vice-chair of the Wood Buffalo public art committee. (David Thurton/ CBC)

“Knowing the history of our region and some of the challenges that we have gone though and the structures that have gone up where the public wasn’t as engaged, we really wanted to make sure we had something transparent,” he said.

In 2015, the city installed a $1.6-million movable stage and the $2.2-million Weather Catcher, a brushed stainless-steel monument that the municipality insists is not public art but “an architectural feature.”

Many residents derided both as wasteful spending.

A pilot is worried an art monument being installed near the Snye River in downtown Fort McMurray will be a hazard for float planes. “[Many] aircraft accidents occur at or just after take-off,” says Peter Hunt, who operates the Fort McMurray Water Aerodrome. 1:34

Reflections on the River isn’t without its own controversy.

A float-plane pilot and operator of the nearby aerodrome feared the sculpture would pose a safety risk, sitting in the path of aircraft landing and taking-off on the Snye Channel.

But Paul Hunt and the municipality reached a compromise, removing several trees in the vicinity to make way for an alternative flight path.

Connect with David Thurton, CBC’s Fort McMurray correspondent, on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn or email him at 

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-10-06 07:48:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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