Recent History – 2004
April 28, 2004
By Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
The tarp came off shortly after 11:30 a.m. and the new statue at the heart of the traffic circle was finally revealed for all to see on Tuesday.
“What better way of starting off the week long B.C. Arts Week celebration than unveiling this sculpture,” Mayor Wayne Dahlen told the crowd gathered at NAR park for the ceremony.
Amidst the driving winds, Dahlen and city safety coordinator Emanuel Machado rode the cherry picker and unveiled the statue.
“I dedicate this to the residents of Dawson Creek,” the mayor said.
The 16-foot statue fashioned mostly out of scrap metal is the work of local artist Karl Mattson. It portrays a surveyor, in time period appropriate dress, pointing down the Alaska Highway. Mattson said that the statue is meant to portray the “pioneer spirit” and was constructed over a period of two months using various welding techniques.
“It’s absolutely fabulous,” said Councillr Marilyn Belak at a reception following the ceremony at the art gallery. Belak took the forefront in presenting the project to city council months ago.
“I love the detail and the assurance that the sculpture is pointing north with,” she said. “I want to congratulate Karl, he is a wonderful artist.”
Ryan MacIvor, tourism and development coordinator for Tourism Dawson Creek, said that the statue should have a positive effect on tourism in the city.
“It is another installation of a wonderful public art program that hopefully will continue on,” he said. “From a tourism point of view it really showcases so much of what we have to offer.”
The reviews were all positive as many at the gallery thanked the artist and city officials for the initiative they showed in approving the project.
“I think it is a good idea,” said local artist Edna McPhail. “(In the past) there was not enough time and energy put into city beautification.”
Dahlen said that he was very pleased with the statue and hopes that it will spur other artists to propose similar projects.
“It just goes to show the talent we have in this area,” he said. “Our arts and culture as far as I’m concerned is second to none.
“I think it’s certainly a tribute – not only to the talent in the arts in our area-but a tribute to the citizens and the council for
having the vision, courage and common sense to place it in the middle of the traffic circle.”