Two weeks after deferring its approval of a new Downtown Williams Lake BIA mural, citing the need for a mural approval policy, city council confirmed Tuesday it has now approved the mural.
The move comes days after the artists went ahead and started painting the mural, with funding from the Williams Lake First Nation.
During Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting, corporate officer Ross Coupe said the mural was accepted by an e-mail poll of council that will be ratified at the next city council meeting.
“Using the Good Neighbour Bylaw, even though we didn’t fund it, we approved it,” Coun. Scott Nelson said.
At the meeting council discussed a proposed mural approval policy developed by staff and afterwards agreed the policy should be forwarded to Downtown Williams Lake BIA and the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake for input.
“I want them to help us design the policy that is going to help us shape the future to ensure we can create change,” Nelson said. “I don’t want to police art, I want artists to help us create the policy.”
Coun. Ivan Bonnell also suggested the proposed policy be posted on the City’s website for community input, which council agreed.
Nelson said he wanted to apologize if council offended anyone during the last city council meeting when the whale mural was deferred.
“I’ve always believed in change and something this community’s going through right now is dramatic change. It’s positive.”
Coun. Marnie Brenner said Williams Lake is diversifying and there will be changes in what people’s ideas are about art.
“I think we need to embrace and seek to understand what other people’s murals are and what’s trying to be said. It’s hard to have a policy that doesn’t spell out everything, but I really think this policy needs to be not so cemented but has case by case guidelines.”
Coun. Jason Ryll said he wants to see creative artistic expression, but that staff still needs some guidelines in developing a mural policy.