Steel ‘M’ chosen as Mission 125th public art piece

Meant to reflect industrial past, ‘M’ has both fans and critics

Mission’s downtown core will look a little more industrial come September.

Dean Lauze’s large steel “M” has been selected as the public art project for the corner of Welton Street and Second Avenue as part of Mission’s 125th anniversary celebrations. The piece has already begun construction and will be unveiled during Culture Days at the end of September.

Councillors were shown two final pieces vying to be installed on the corner of Welton Street and Second Avenue. The call for proposals garnered responses from across the country, but the Cultural Resources Commission unanimously agreed that Lauze’s proposal “best reflects the intent of the project.”

Lauze is a long-time Mission resident who has worked on past projects like the Golden Tree and Unity Statue in Abbotsford.

Council seemed to favour Lauze’s large steel “M” that Coun. Pam Alexis said pays homage to the industrial history of Mission and will sit in a prominent location.

“I think the vantage point of where it’s going to be placed, you’ll be able to see it from First Avenue and perhaps even by the train station,” Alexis said. “We really loved the image; it reflects in our industrial history and resource sectors.”

There were some concerns that some of the pieces included on the project may be dangerous, including the saw blade that comes off the top of the M, but staff said those blades can be dulled. It includes many different Mission-related features on it, including a native salmon, a logging cable and an anchor and chain.

Coun. Rhett Nicholson said he was surprised by the unanimous decision for Lauze’s project, calling the other project being considered “more timeless.”

“The Abbey is more of a classic-type statue,” Nicholson said. “This looks like something that belongs in an industrial park, not within our nice downtown.”

Deputy director of parks, recreation and culture Stephanie Key said although she, too, was a little surprised at the choice, public art isn’t always guaranteed to be liked by everyone.

“It’s always somewhat controversial,” she said. “There will always be someone who loves it and someone who hates it. You can never find everyone on the same page.”

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