Nelson city council has approved amendments to the guidelines for mural development involving the removal of murals located around the city.
“I was having a discussion with one of the designers about how to put some of these spaces back the way they were,” says councilor Keith Page. “Right now, murals don’t get decommissioned until there is another one in the chute.”
The current criteria for decommissioning a mural state that there is a budget for maintenance and that the building owner incurs the cost of bringing the building back to whatever they want.
“Perhaps we should discuss decommissioning the mural after 10 years, or whatever is appropriate,” says Page, “then have them sit blank for five years, or whatever is deemed appropriate.
“The goal of having a property sit blank for an extended period of time is to see what the streetscape would look like without having a mural on it,” says Page.
“I would say that it is up to the business owner. They might want to have a mural done right after the previous one has been decommissioned,” says councilor Jesse Woodward.
Approved revisions to the current policy would ensure that each approved mural includes a plan for decommissioning or removal at a future time. However, council still has to finalize a timeline to decommission current murals.
The Official Community Plan Bylaw allows for murals, subject to site review and city policies and guidelines.
Since 2017, the Nelson International Mural Festival has seen numerous blank walls and spaces around town covered with colourful creations.
However, recently the artist behind an older mural on the side of Pharmasave cried foul after his mural was painted over. Brian McLachlan wanted the Nelson and District Arts Council to review its process.