Two people walk along the Odgen Point breakwater. Phase 3 of the breakwater mural is now underway.

Odgen Point mural gets hesitant financial support

Victoria council approves funding for Phase 3 of mural, pending Esquimalt contribution

A mural depicting Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations history is two-thirds complete, and a large grant for the final third hangs in the balance.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority approached Victoria city council to back its application for a federal grant of $250,000 for Phase 3 of the project.

The Canadian Heritage Legacy Fund money would cover half the cost of the third stage.

The mural is called Na’ Tsa’ Maht – The Unity Wall – and it stretches across the inside face of the breakwater at Ogden Point.

While council wholeheartedly gave its support in principle to the application, the harbour authority’s request for $10,000 from the city to help with its share of the cost got more scrutiny.

Coun. Shellie Gudgeon voted against the funding, pointing out many community requests for money have been turned down. A majority on council, however, felt the financial contribution would add weight to the grant application.

Council committed the money with one caveat: that Esquimalt, also represented on the harbour authority board, be asked to reimburse the city by some unspecified amount.

Phase 1 and 2 of the mural cost $400,000, an expense paid for by the authority.

Phase 3 will depict Sir James Douglas’ establishment of Fort Victoria and his signing of the Douglas Treaties, which recognize aboriginal title.

rholmen@vicnews.com