Adding a little art

Artist has idea to improve look of concrete flume wall

Artist Tony Austin has an idea to add some art to the concrete flume walls.

Artist Tony Austin has an idea to add some art to the concrete flume walls.

If there is one thing you will find most Kimberley residents agreeing on these days, it is that the concrete wall rising in Mark Creek just downstream of the Wallinger Avenue bridge is an eyesore in an otherwise attractive project.

A recent poll at had 90 percent of respondents saying that it ruined the look of the flume rehab project.

Even Mayor and Council admit that, though the wall is that high in order to meet 200-year flood specifications, it is not attractive.

Kimberley artist Tony Austin has some ideas he feels could make the concrete wall look a little better.

Austin was at City Council on Monday evening seeking a letter of support. He will be applying for a major project grant of $10,000 from the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance to give that concrete wall a new look.

“About three weeks ago I was walking across the bridge,” Austin told Council. “I was looking at the flume and I thought it’s looking really nice except for that really harsh, industrial 15 foot high wall. It takes everything away from the look of the project. You have this quarried rock and landscaping and then this concrete wall.”

Austin’s idea is to create metal replicas of the mountain ranges on each side of Kimberley.

“I want to recreate the Columbia Valley,” he said. “On the north side wall, we’d have the Hughs Range including Fisher Peak and the south side would be the Purcells.”

Lower down, Austin would install metal fish to celebrate that the cutthroat trout has returned to the creek.

Council was generally supportive of the idea.

“The proposal really grabbed my attention,” said Coun. Nigel Kitto. “It’s a real improvement. I’m in support.”

Council voted to provide a letter of support. The City would also help with installation of the metal mountains and fish.