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REPORTING · 28th September 2011
Merv Ritchie
It is finally over, the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce brilliant concept of purchasing the old Co-op building, 'so the City can control the development of this downtown site', is getting its just desserts, demolition.

Credit should go where credit is due. The current City Council made efforts to sell the property. They then agreed to allow the building to be covered with graffiti. When money suddenly became available they put out tenders to see what it would cost to demolish it and then voted to spend the money getting rid of the eye sore.

Councillor Christiansen has been the only Councillor prepared to be fully honest and forthright regarding this failed concept. She freely admitted and described, during the last municipal election forum debates, how the Terrace Chamber of Commerce pressured the city into the purchase. And this past summer she suggested the only reason the City is moving ahead with the demolition is due to the election promises made at the Mayoral debate.

The building is expected to be completely demolished and the rubble removed before the end of October.
I thought we were Hockeyville, not hickville
Comment by Jim L on 11th October 2011
There was nothing at all wrong with the artwork, to censor it with a preview would have been totally ludicrous and in complete betrayal of art as just that.... ART! I, in fact, recorded the entire building on video and think it was a very 'hip' thing for a little northern town to do. Unfortunately now, when it really doesn't matter, we are sadly awakened to a particular group of people with a real 'redneck' mentality, who need to say their last tactless two bits. I was initially impressed with my old hometowns' recognition of local aritsts and open-mindedness we have toward modern, accepted designs. But now in this light, it all looks too much like the stuffy old 'Bilderbergian' snoots with no culture, that Steve spoke can't believe he didn't know what that term meant, is that ironic?! Or what?!
Cry babies
Comment by Sheldon Davidson on 3rd October 2011
If anyone had any real issues with the paint on the building they would have gone down there themselves with a paint roller and painted over it.

Sounds like a lot of people are complaining on the internet because they have nothing better to do LOL
Limiting the participation
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 2nd October 2011
I understand what you mean C. However, the group organizing this wanted it open to everyone. Had they been pre-screened, the Mayor and council who did come out definitely wouldn't have qualified. Nor would the 4 year old girl who had such a fabulous time with her parent being involved.

This was only partly an art project, it was much more a community project. Street art has never really had boundaries of good enough. It's hard to get better if never given the opportunity to increase your skills.

This was a successful project which met it's goals. Just because those goals were not the same as others... doesn't mean it wasn't a success. We all must actually move beyond, if we can not find acceptance for different people's prespectives the least we can do is find tolerance.
Perfect spelling
Comment by c. sandecki on 2nd October 2011
I took half an hour to circle the building and photograph everything days after the weekend project. I found only one incorrectly spelled word. More than I can say for many postings done on here sitting down instead of working high over your head teetering on a sawhorse or whatever some of the artists stood on to reach so high.
Where graffiti project derailed
Comment by c. sandecki on 1st October 2011
In my Terrace Standard "Through Bifocals" column of July 7, 2010, I wrote of a graffiti project in San Antonio, Texas under the direction of a local Arts professor.
Students cooperated painting graffiti on a 187 foot long section of a weir dam wall 10 feet high.
To attain something of a standard of quality, students submitted samples of their work before they were accepted into the program. The six week course began with the study of design and colour.
Before any painting happened, each group of students was assigned a "canvas" of wall of consistent height and width . Each group of students had to sketch their proposed design and identify their colours, if necessary modify the design until approved by the instructor, then graph their proposed design on their "canvas" before spray painting anything.
This resulted in cohesive graffiti pleasing to passersby, rather than a random jumble of height, width, and quality of artistic endeavour.
Had the group who oversaw this Co-op project at a minimum measured the height to be painted, I think fewer residents might have been upset.
Comment by Maggie Jo on 1st October 2011
At times, change is truly hard to become accustomed to, as is a death in the family.

I LOVED that Co-op bldg when it was up and running. I have many fond childhood memories of my Dad finally rtning home from working in Camp all week when we all suffocated him to near death when he finally rtned home to walk into our driveway from being away all week (all us 6 siblings clambered over one another to run out to greet him when he came home on Fridays...while almost physically bowling Daddy over in greeting style!).

We all knew that when Daddy came home on Friday afternoons after being away all week...we were ALL heading out to the Terrace Co-op together on our much anticipated family outing all together for our weekly Friday night's shopping trip to the Terrace Co-op to purchase our next week's goods. We only had one channel TV in those days...and this Co-op-ed outing was a very much anticipated event as a "family" unit.

When Daddy rtned home every Friday afternoon, our family of 8 would all go out together for our Friday Night shopping trip to the Terrace Co-op; where my Mom would peruse the grocery aisles loading up not one, but TWO grocery carts full of stash; while in the interim Daddy would cash in his paycheque at the Co-op and would take all of us siblings upstairs to the Co-op cafeteria - treating us all to ONE glazed donut a piece; while we had to share drinks together; lest the bill get too expensive.

And he always somehow had extra change to treat us to the mechanical horse in the lobby!

Then my sister got a job at the Co-op office. We were so proud of her! Often I would be lugged along with my Daddy while he wanted to make sure she was safe upon exiting the bldg after her office shift to have a safe ride home.

I miss those days when a parent ruled the "rank of the house" without worrying about a spoilt child demanding his/her OWN drink cuz they don't dare SHARE straws now-a-days, heh?

After my Mom was finished grocery shopping...Daddy would load the shopping goods into the vehicle for her; while us girls would go up to the Clothing Dept upstairs in Co-op while he (im)patiently strolled about trying to hook up with other males in the interim for a chit chat. The prices in that clothing dept were we picked out our selections and would save our $ to possibly purchase an item at a later date.

In any a death in the family...we have to accept that the Co-op is gone.

How we go on from here is what we make of it.

R.I.P Co-op.

co-cop and the artists
Comment by metisman on 1st October 2011
I grew up here, had plenty of meals in the co-op coffee shop, free cookies from the bakery, and as I got older I brought my kids there for the free cookies. The staff was always pleasant. The food was always good. The service was outstanding.

Children were an important part of the co-op and were always welcomed especially in the bakery.

I will miss the co-op for so many reasons including the expression of art that our wonderful City Council approved.

let's be honest here, we all knew the building was going to come down eventually; there was way too much wrong with it. But the property itself can be used for so many different things - why fault the city for buying it.

And why not let our local youth take part in doing something with that building prior to it coming down? seriously why not?

I saw a lot of artistic expression, I saw artists of all ages come together to share in the experience. Young and Old alike.

I also noted that the city carefully removed some of the art work, the ones worth keeping that we're completed on wood. Kudos to the city for doing that, I look forward to seeing the art work elsewhere.


so you had to put up with a bit of an eyesore for a couple years but did you ever take the time to see what was drawn there? how creative the kids were?

Did you stop to think before you started complaining about it; that it really wasn't worth the effort because the building was coming down ANYWAY!!

Seriously, enough. It's done!

To Steve.
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 29th September 2011
Just keeping the record straight with Bill on the history of this issue. Why would that be a problem for you? What is bilderbergian?
So then Helmut...
Comment by Steve Smyth on 29th September 2011
Just for fun, who's your beef with?

the supposed "Bilderbergian" types at the Chamber who conspired to sway the elected officials of the day or the supposed Milquetoast people who agreed to buy it?

Regardless, it's dead and gone, hopefully never to be seen or repeated again.
To Bill
Comment by Helmut Giesbrecht on 29th September 2011
Your loyalty to the people who decided to use taxpayer dollars to purchase the Co-op property is charming. If some member of the Chamber could not muster up the dollars necessary for such an investment when they apparently thought it was a good deal for the taxpayer, should that not have been a good indication that it was NOT such a good deal.

It was not bought during a boom cycle. That was a pretty good indication that Council would be holding onto the property for a long time. That lost tax revenue should have been considered. If they had not been so eager and done a bit of checking, the price would have come down substantially.

Somebody in the Chamber of Commerce, who probably has more money left over at the end of a year than the city, decided to convince the Council to buy this white elephant. You can't sugar coat that.
one more try for "it was a good idea at the time"
Comment by bill braam on 29th September 2011
Ok, crap all over city council for doing something that was a good idea at the time. If some Wal-mart-ish company had come to town, bought the Co-op at a healthy profit for the city, we would all be dancing in the streets. But it didn't turn out that way. Perhaps this whole episode will temper city council's buying in the future. I still think they have collectively done a pretty good job of keeping Terrace functioning. Thank you
Some sugar to the lemonade.
Comment by Stacey Tyers on 28th September 2011
I want to add some sugar to this lemonade. I didn't spray paint, but wow did I get horribly sick being out there in the rain BBQing up a storm for participants. It was worth every moment of sickness.

The graffiti fest did exactly what it was intended to do:

Engaged Youth
Allowed respectful creative expression of art. (I'm sure not everyone appreciates the mona lisa either, or did then)
Got the community engaged.
Angry or happy people started talking about the property again.
Apathy disappeared
a little moment in history.

You may have hated it, you may have loved it... either way it was what it was and it will soon be gone... But wether you loved it or hated it. It was SO much fun, people who don't normally come out to events were engaged, brought together and for a brief moment felt a part of this community, before all the NIMBY'S, Elites etc.. start scolding them again, making assumptions about them again etc... It was a fantastic time.

On to tourists... just to remind people, not everyone's vision is the same. One may like murals, while another likes solid colours, another like graffiti... We've come a long way from the purple house ordeal.

So here is what one tourist blogged about it...

You may find 10 against it... but the fact is people HAVE come through our town... and thought wow, cool.

Lets find more ways to engage youth and community.
What's wrong? The picture or the perspective?
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 28th September 2011

If there where carefully planned murals and then a demolition would that be salt in the wounds too?

What are the choices this next election?
I think there is a need for more people to step forward. Maybe making people less afraid of the mob is one way to go about it.
what happened to the asbestos?
Comment by Apocalypse Now on 28th September 2011
Was the asbestos properly removed from the building. Was any one watching to make sure proper procedures were in place when they supposedly removed the asbestos. Funny how the last photo of work done at the CO-OP was with 2 young lads removing material with no safety glasses on and now the building is down.
Go to Chemainus
Comment by Searle on 28th September 2011
Richard, I suggest that you go and have a look at the public murals in Chemainus if you really want to see a town making lemonade out of lemons. There is well thought out carefully done works of art that have become a tourist draw. This contrasts with the utter crap that the council allowed to besmirtch the walls of the Co op. If that mess had been done on the side of the town hall, people would be screaming for the vandals to be caught and prosecuted. Face it. It was an ill thought out mess and will not be missed. Maggie Jo, your son was putting his "art" on the sides of your shed, on your property. I'll bet that it was not visible from the road and was therefore not offensive to your neighbours. The Co op is on public property and was grossly visible to all. Case closed. We elect the council to govern the town, not to be art experts. This councils decision to allow that mess only threw salt in the wounds of the injury to the town that the last council caused by buying the damn Co op structure. Remember all this, you few who do vote.
A personal Graffiti story
Comment by Maggie Jo on 28th September 2011
One day I busted my young teenaged son coming home with spray paint. I most furiously demanded WHY he needed spray paint! Of course he "lied" to me and said ..."Uh...uh...I need to spray paint my bike????"

So.... I gave my son a very looooong verbally slapping lesson on criminal activity involving spray painting; while also coming up with a solution to serve as an outlet for him.

I took a deep breath (gulp) and gave him free reign to the backyard shed to spray paint GRAFFITI all over my back yard shed to his utter content. He was THRILLED and claimed the graffiti hosting home-station as his "own" - adding/changing to the artwork pending his moods. Even his friends were invited to participate in the artwork activity on that backyard shed. There were a lot of good times hosting the neighborhood kids that way, while educating them along the way not to be involved in Criminal activity.

Sure, the shed looked unsightly when it became a spray painting canvass, but at least it was in the back yard so passersby couldn't see it.

Some of the things he/friends painted were actually quite touching - words of wisdom, words of frustration, spray painted pics of happy people and also not so happy people.

My son/friends were satifisfied enuf with their own personal spot to artistically demonstrate their feelings in a safe environment without trespassing onto other proprety to do so.

Boy! Did I hear it from my extended family for turning my backyard shed into a "ghetto" know what? I kinda like the ghetto. There's alot of emotional activity in ghettos and there's also peace.

Since then, my son has aged as a respectful young man who is a solid, productive member of Society. Since then we have repainted the old shed to a dull boring one color grey/blue; lest the Jones neighbors complain, but well...I miss it.

I often look out from the kitchen window and regret painting over all his emotional artwork that he was so proud to display in his safe environment at home where he was able to spray paint whatever he pleased onto that shed.

I miss him. I miss his artwork. I wish I had not painted over it when he grew outta 'dat phase.

In a weird way...I feel connected to the artwork on the Co-op building - even tho' I am a NAZI with opposing eye-sore spray painting all over town, I have to admit I miss the graffitti on my own backyard shed.
If only people voted...
Comment by R1chard Jenn1ss on 28th September 2011

Searle I think you forget the apathetic voting turnout from last election.
Also when talking about change it can be both good & bad.

The graffiti fest was an example of making lemonade out of life's lemons. Can you agree or is life all bad all the time?

The banter of the public trying to nail council to the wall doesn't always work. Again, not many people will even vote.
I wonder why?
Maybe the bantering itself causes people to loose interest?

I liked the graffiti fest, it got all ages to interact in the community, which in itself BUILDS community. Not only - it put this landmark elephant in the living room which says to me "We're committed to seeing this through."
Come to think of it that's pretty forward thinking to make those decisions to let kids be involved with this building, better than a council who wouldn't want to do anything!

Once coop is gone, it's a milestone saying we're at the end of what once was.
That said it's time to look at Terrace as a place of opportunity, than seeing this place as if we're in a depression.
Destroy works of art??
Comment by Searle on 28th September 2011
Since the Council in its collective wisdom gifted the people of Terrace with the works of art plastered all over the exterior of the Co op, why now are they destroying these priceless pieces? I suggest that the best of these works be removed carefully and installed just outside the front room windows of all those on the council who voted to allow them in the first place. After all, if these art pieces were felt to be good enough to inflict on all of us "mere citizens" for over a year, and of course we must not forget to mention all those tourists who boggled in stunned disbelief out of the windows of the train at them, then surely they are too good to be destroyed. No, no, these works need to be displayed outside of the houses of those artistic geniuses on the council who o k 'ed them last year. I hope that when election time rolls around that the voters will remember all this!!