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ICYMI: Sheave Tower sculpture could adorn Cambridge Soccer Complex

Council will decide whether to go ahead with $260,000 50th anniversary public art project next week

A towering tribute to the Sheave Tower could become a fixture of the city's new Fountain Street Soccer Complex if council approves a recommendation to top up the budget of a 50th anniversary public art project.

Next week council will be asked to bump the capital project's budget from $250,000 to $260,000, the estimated cost to build a concept pitched by artist Pierre Poussin last May.

The "monumental landmark" is designed as an open-framed sculpture that will pay homage to the tower's history and will be similar to the original building's shape and scale.

"This concept connects the past and present, emphasizing the Sheave Tower's significance in the area's development," reads Poussin's concept statement. 

He calls the Sheave Tower "an enduring beacon of innovation and discovery" that "stands proudly as a testament to the rich history and indomitable spirit of our region." 

The sculpture was selected by the city's public art jury from among 27 submissions.

The jury included industry professionals and two community representatives to further public engagement. They collaborated with the city's Arts and Culture Advisory Committee to select Poussin's piece from five finalists.

Staff then recommended the Fountain Street Soccer site as the most optimal location to commission the work.

Staff's report to council notes the "extensive consultation" that took place with representatives from the city's engineering, planning, operations and recreation and culture departments during site plan review.

Work leading up to the selection began knowing the city has a limited inventory of public art in comparison to other municipalities of similar size.

Council approved a 50th anniversary art installation in 2023 "to advance public art in our community and provide a legacy piece to commemorate this historic event."

Ongoing operating costs associated with maintaining the public art will be included in the 2025 operating budget once the impact is known, reads the staff report. 

"These costs are expected to be minimal and will be dependent on the final design and may include some combination of hydro costs, horticulture costs, and cleanup (i.e. from debris or vandalism)."

If council approves the recommendation, the balance in the public art reserve fund will be $162,400.