New Nanaimo art in Maffeo Sutton Park meets mixed reviews

New Nanaimo art in Maffeo Sutton Park meets mixed reviews
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A new Nanaimo art display in Maffeo Sutton Park downtown park is getting mixed reviews.

The piece features letters, which stand one-and-a-half meters high and spell ‘Nanaimo.’

“I love it. I love the colour. I like what they did with the O,” said Judy Lefebvre, a Nanaimo resident.

Installed by the City Thursday, the three-dimensional letters have already become climbing objects for kids and a photo backdrop for adults.

“It looks really great. It stands out. It looks fabulous. It brings a little colour out down here,” said Natalie Cunliffe.

“I’m impressed. It’s money well spent,” said Allan Winks.

Not everyone feels it’s money well spent, however, as some are taking issue with Nanaimo’s newest art installation, which cost $57,000.

“I’m not impressed. I don’t like the looks of it. [It] doesn’t do anything for me,” said Diana Rose, a Nanaimo resident.

Some see it welcoming people to Omianan’s downtown, depending on your view.

“It’s a nice addition to the park but I’m just wondering about the placement. Seeing it from behind it…you’ll see it backwards,” said Larry Brunelle, a Nanaimo resident.

Online criticism has been strong as well and another Nanaimo resident told CHEK News that it’s not where the city should be spending its money.

“Before we start spending money on frivolous things like giant signs, I’d like to see them addressing the homeless issues, crime issues, more pedestrian safety focus,” said Wanda Thompson.

Nanaimo’s Mayor Leonard Krog acknowledges that you’re never going to please everyone.

“Everybody says money can be spent better elsewhere. People who don’t use pools don’t want it spent on pools. People who don’t have kids in soccer don’t want soccer fields. People who don’t come down to the park don’t want to see a Nanaimo sign in the park… I think this is a very positive popular addition.”

Krog says he’s already heard a lot of positive feedback.

“There will always be people who are upset about any expenditure of money on public art and I guess my response is go into a home and tell me do people love their bare walls or do they put art on it?”

The sign is part of a $200,000 budget to beautify Nanaimo’s downtown.

Last August, another piece of art was controversially received in Nanaimo after a mural was painted on the wall of a city parking lot.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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