A Salmon Arm Secondary teacher would like to beautify a city tunnel.
Elaine Holmes, a teacher at the Jackson campus, came to city council with two students on April 8 to promote her idea of painting the pedestrian tunnel that leads under the Trans-Canada Highway from Yan’s Kitchen on 21st Street NE towards Bastion Elementary on the other side.
She said she and her students previously painted the tunnel near the Podollan Inn that leads to the Jackson campus.
In a letter to council in October, she wrote: “I have had great success with this project in the tunnel across from the school. Vandalism has been at a minimum, in fact, almost non-existent… I regularly check it and we paint new images in the areas that need cleaning up. It is an effective way to deter vandalism as well as create a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing space.”
She told council paint and rollers would cost $145 and students would paint an abstract type of mural at the tunnel near Yan’s.
Council discussed the cost of doing both tunnels, as Holmes said the tunnel near the Podollan would need to be completely repainted.
Mayor Alan Harrison asked if staff could paint that tunnel white and then students could come by and decorate it.
City staff said removing graffiti would come out of the graffiti budget but painting the whole tunnel isn’t included in the budget.
Coun. Kevin Flynn said he would support $150 or $200 out of the council initiatives fund, but first staff would need to determine how much painting the whole tunnel would cost.
“We need to know what it’s going to cost to prepare the canvas.”
Harrison said staff will let council know how much the full-tunnel painting will cost, while noting council seems to be in favour of the plan to improve both tunnels.
He pointed out he was at Bastion Elementary for quite some time and far less graffiti is done when there’s a mural, not to mention it provides a creative project for students.