The wall at the back of the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation – the site of a planned youth bike skills park – is currently covered in graffiti but Saanich plans to turn it into a mural space for young artists. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

The wall at the back of the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation – the site of a planned youth bike skills park – is currently covered in graffiti but Saanich plans to turn it into a mural space for young artists. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich paves the way for mural projects at basketball courts, youth bike skills park

We the West court murals, Tripp Station Youth Park art wall to promote creativity, active lifestyle

Saanich will soon be adorned two new murals – one brings basketball-themed work to municipal courts and the other will see an art wall at the Tripp Station Youth Park.

On April 19, council unanimously supported a mural project connected to the We the West Basketball Festival set to take place in Greater Victoria this summer and another that will tie into the construction of a youth bike skills track at the George Tripp Hydro Substation lot – between Borden Street and Lochside Drive.

Saanich will contribute up to $10,000 from its Strategic Initiatives Fund to We the West’s mural project which will see one or two municipal courts painted in honour of the basketball festival.

The community-focused, inclusive event celebrates the history of the sport in Canada and coincides with the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament set to take place at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre from June 29 to July 4. Last year Saanich agreed to contribute up to $45,000 the festival and tournament. Originally scheduled for last summer, they were rescheduled due to COVID-19.

Organizers plan to create 10 large court murals across Greater Victoria for the event. We the West will select five designs from professional artists and five submitted by the community, and will handle the cost of supplies and the muralists’ time – an estimated $13,500 per court. Saanich has been asked to contribute up to two courts for murals, get both courts ready to be painted and maintain them for two years.

The Tripp Station Youth Park mural pilot project will see young Saanich artists, art teachers and community members come together to create a painting on the wall of the substation which is currently covered in graffiti. The proposed mural would evolve over time and feature many themes – including Indigenous art, explained Susan Samborski, director of parks, recreation and community services, during the council meeting.

The project will provide an opportunity for youth to be involved in all aspects of bringing a large-scale mural to life and will transform the lot, once used for illegal activities opposed by area residents, into a vibrant community space, she explained.

To fund the project, staff have applied for a Healthy Communities grant. If the application is not successful, funding would come from the park’s operations budget and the community arts budget.

The mural projects align with Saanich’s strategic plan which Coun. Colin Plant pointed out calls for the municipality to proactively seek public art opportunities.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

ArtDistrict of Saanich