Taking it to the streets: Saanich gets road mural

Volunteers and neighbours gather around the road mural in progress near the entrance of Falaise Park in Saanich. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Volunteers and neighbours gather around the road mural in progress near the entrance of Falaise Park in Saanich. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Volunteers paint a design of yellow montane, an endangered species found in the area, onto Falaise Crescent. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Volunteers paint a design of yellow montane, an endangered species found in the area, onto Falaise Crescent. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Desiree Shelley, local artist and designer of the mural, prepares and distributes paint to volunteers. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Desiree Shelley, local artist and designer of the mural, prepares and distributes paint to volunteers. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Kids design and paint their own acorns, a symbol of the park’s Garry oak ecosystem, lining the road beside the floral pattern. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Kids design and paint their own acorns, a symbol of the park’s Garry oak ecosystem, lining the road beside the floral pattern. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

Volunteers and neighbours took to the street Saturday (Aug. 13) to install a road mural on Saanich’s Falaise Crescent.

With the support of local artist Desiree Shelley, a group of volunteers from the Falaise Community Association, the Greater Victoria Placemaking Network (GVPN) and community members painted a mural onto the surface of the road adjacent to Falaise Park.

Shelley, who designed the mural, worked in collaboration with neighbours to develop a design which reflects the identity of the street – ultimately settling on the motif of yellow montane violets.

The rare flower was chosen because Falaise Park happens to be one of the few places in the entire region where the species can be found. Artist and long-time resident Tannis Warburton originally discovered the flower growing in the park nearly 60 years ago, alerting the Ministry of Environment. A plaque now honours her memory in the park.

“I heard about this flower, but I wanted to see what the community talked about the most … And the flower actually came up quite a bit,” Shelley said.

“The purpose of this mural is what’s happening right now – we have a park full of kids, we have snacks, we have a ton of different people on the pavement painting, we have people walking by. That’s what it is. It’s bringing people around to talk about and see their neighbours. Everyone who’s touched a brush will feel some investment in this.”

The mural is also serving a critical purpose beyond its aesthetic appeal and community value. Project co-initiator and volunteer GVPN board member Teale Phelps Bondaroff said road murals not only beautify streets but also improve safety.

“Research has found that road murals encourage drivers to slow down, thereby improving road safety. I’m very pleased to see this pilot project up and running in Saanich and am looking forward to evaluating its effectiveness.”

Phelps Bondaroff worked with the district to develop road mural guidelines. He’ll be collecting traffic speed data and comparing it against measurements taken pre-mural to study the impact of the mural on vehicle speeds on the street.

The Falaise Community Association will be maintaining the mural and throwing a repainting party next summer.

ALSO READ: Victoria Dragon Boat Festival kicks off in Inner Harbour



austin.westphal@saanichnews.com

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