The fountain at the plaza at Lonsdale Quay will be removed to make way for new upgrades to the area. Paul McGrath / North Shore News

The City of North Vancouver have approved the removal of an iconic piece of outdoor art that has called Lonsdale Quay home for almost four decades.

The large, circular fountain outside the Quay’s south entrance, alongside its inner “White Winds” sculpture and “Beyond the Fountain” mosaic basin, will be removed to make way for upgrades to the south plaza.

The 37-year-old fountain has been out of commission since it endured a full mechanical system failure in 2020, with costs to retrofit it to current safety, health and environmental standards expected to surpass $300,000.

Created by Canadian sculptor and painter Gerald Gladstone in 1985, the stark ‘White Winds’ metal sculptures at the centre of the fountain were designed to represent sails in an ode to the boats that consistently line the waters of the local Burrard Inlet. The ocean and city-themed mosaic within the fountain basin was crafted by a Studio in the City youth employment project, led by glass and mosaic Vancouver artist Bruce Walther.

In a council meeting on Monday night, councillors agreed the removal would be a loss to the community, but the fountain’s deteriorating state and costly repairs meant demolition was necessary.

“This fountain is certainly distinct. The two features that are a part of that fountain have certainly been enjoyed by many in the community, especially by families with young children whose hands and feet and coins wound up in that fountain,” said Coun. Angela Girard. “I think it’s been a very well-loved and iconic fountain for the Quay, and it’s always regrettable to have to de-accession much-loved art.”

Hoping to retain even a small fragment of the art piece, Coun. Don Bell proposed keeping the base structure of the fountain and repurposing it for a more social use.

“I’m wondering about maintaining the circular ring of the fountain and filling it in with a series of steps, so that it could be an area where people could sit and enjoy the sun, and enjoy that area, rather than take it out and have a flat area all across,” he said.

The idea was countered by staff, who explained one of the benefits of removing the artwork was that it would open up the plaza, and make the area more usable.

By Mina Kerr-Lazenby, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 04, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   North Shore News   North Vancouver, British Columbia
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