Qualicum Beach fire hydrants will not be painted with local art

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Qualicum Beach town council voted down a motion to consider painting art on fire hydrants.

“In the middle of the night when you are driving around, panicking, looking for a hydrant, but you don’t know what you are looking for it’s very hard. Everyone knows when they are going down the street they are looking for something red,” said Mayor Brian Wiese, who served for 32 years as a firefighter. “I think the art is a good idea, but I think hydrants should be left alone.”

Coun. Robert Filmer said he agreed with the safety aspect and there would be strict parameters in place to keep hydrants bright and visible. He moved to amend the motion so town staff could identify five or six hydrant in town that would be safe to make into an art project. 

“I think that’s a fair compromise,” he said. “And further that we partner with the high school senior art class to explore this option.” 

The amendment was seconded by Wiese. Coun. Teunis Westbroek said there is a better opportunity for public art on hydro boxes, to avoid safety concerns with fire hydrants. 

Filmer said the motion put him in a difficult position because he agrees with council, but is accountable to his arts and recreation committee. 

“I have my own views, but my committee has also made their voice clear and my job as chair is to move their initiatives forward,” he said.

The motion failed 3 – 1, with only Filmer is support of the project.

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