Council cools to art

Red Deer residents must keep their artistic flair away from garages and other backyard buildings.

Red Deer residents must keep their artistic flair away from garages and other backyard buildings.

City council voted 5-2 on Monday against a land-use bylaw amendment allowing supergraphics within residential areas, not just commercial or industrial areas.

Councillors Larry Pimm, Tara Veer, Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer, Frank Wong and Buck Buchanan voted against the murals, mosaics or graphic art on residential buildings. Councillors Gail Parks and Lynne Mulder voted in favour.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling and Councillor Cindy Jefferies were absent.

The bylaw amendment raised various concerns.

“I think we overregulate,” said Councillor Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer later. “All the wheels that started in motion were around one mural.”

The mural was painted on a Grandview garage in 2006 and paid homage to surrealist painter Salvadore Dali’s work, Port of Cadaqués (Night). One complaint was received.

Watkinson-Zimmer said she believes that mural will be allowed to remain.

Councillor Tara Veer had asked for a change to the bylaw amendment so that approvals of these murals would be discretionary. This would give neighbours opportunity to give input, Veer said.

City solicitor Don Simpson replied the city “strongly objected” to this amendment being discretionary since art involves “subjective taste.”

Council agreed and shot down Veer’s request.

“My general sense is this won’t be the last time we talk about it,” said Veer after the meeting. “There were those who thought it was too restrictive and others who didn’t think it was restrictive enough. A different form of bylaw could still come forward.”

Councillor Larry Pimm frowned on the bylaw amendment because it said these murals should not be visible from the front yard.

“As long as people don’t see them…I don’t agree with that,” said Pimm.

But Councillor Lynne Mulder said she favoured having permitted use, as long as parameters are put in place.

“I don’t think this will encourage people to go and paint every garage in town,” she said.

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