Council selects design of Centennial Park stage

The design of the new stage in Centennial Park that was selected by Council on Tuesday. Photo by City of Fort St. John.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Fort St. John City Council has officially selected the design of the new stage that will be built in Centennial Park in the next year.

Councillors were given two choices of unenclosed covered bandshells that would give the greenspace a permanent location from which its many events could be centralized as part of the City’s plans to renovate the park. The first design was described as an organic concept and included an amoeba-like silhouette and wood support columns, while the second design was a pentagonal shape that used metal columns and movable sail-like baffles to deflect sound. The second concept had a budget roughly $20,000 lower than the first.

The rejected design of the Centennial Park stage. Photo by City of Fort St. John.

Councillors had a lengthy debate over the merits of each design, with Councillors Stewart and Klassen preferring the first design due to its wooden support columns, which they said drew references to the City’s ties to the forestry industry. Stewart also spoke about his dislike of the sail-like sound baffles, which he said drew comparisons to the old City signs that featured the motif.

However, Councillor Trevor Bolin pointed out the higher cost of purchasing and maintaining wood over the long term, especially in Fort St. John’s climate, while Mayor Lori Ackerman also pointed out that the metal columns could refer to the City’s pipeline industry. Meanwhile, councillor Larry Evans expressed his dislike of both concept designs.

In the end, Councillor Stewart’s motion to approve the first option was defeated after most councillors expressed a preference for the less expensive option, despite all wondering aloud whether it would be possible to amend the design to feature the wood columns. Council voted 4-2 in favour of selecting Option #2 as the City’s new bandshell.