Path to re-installing iconic Penticton scroll lights unclear

Scroll lights coming back?

Penticton's arts advisory committee has found itself a little unsure how to proceed following council's vague green light to continue exploring options for replacement of the City's iconic scroll lights, while maintaining their disinclination to provide funding.

The scroll lights, which used to adorn Riverside Drive and the other end of town near Sudbury Beach, were removed amongst public uproar in 2019 due to their deteriorating parts becoming safety hazards. They were kept in storage for months, but after initial community outrage failed to evolve into action to rehabilitate the lights on volunteer and donor dimes, they were destroyed.

This January, the arts and heritage committees, made up of interested citizens who advise council, brought the possibility of replacing the installations with modern LED structures back to light.

While council gave them the go-ahead to continue exploring options, the committees were a little confused as to next steps at their Friday afternoon meeting.

“Do they come back in the same form? Do they come back in a different form? Is it a public art project, is it an infrastructure project?” were some of the questions general manger of community services Anthony Haddad posed to the committee members.

Acting chair Barbara Longland said it was difficult to know where to start, as the concept is open-ended as it stands.

"There are a lot of basic questions that need to be addressed before we can even move on to ‘What are the next steps,'" Longland said.

"It’s very hard to say because we’re dealing with a concept that isn’t really fully fleshed out.|

Coun. Judy Sentes, the commitee's liaison to broader council, said her fellow councillors and the mayor are looking for the committee to form partnerships with the community, with people who could volunteer different elements of the project and in that way get it re-established.

"If the committee decided they would like to see if they could get them replaced … You make those recommendations to council but council is looking to see if this community can generate the interest through the community to have them reconstructed," she said.

Longland made the suggestion that the committee form a sub-committee to begin fleshing out ideas, which could invite interested members of the public to join.

The rest of the committee was on board, with six members of both the arts and heritage committees volunteering to join. They plan to meet informally soon, to start tossing around plans, like potential arts grants that could be applied for and community partners who might commit funding.

Downtown Penticton Association executive director Lynn Allin also sat in on the meeting, chiming in to voice her support for the return or even expansion of scroll lights in Penticton.

"I know that you’d get a positive response from the business community."

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