After extensive public consultation, the Vancouver Parks Board approved Queen Elizabeth Park as the location for the love locks sculpture.
Parks Board commissioner John Coupar said Queen Elizabeth Park, English Bay, and Kits Beach were the top three contenders, but First Nations groups had concerns about the latter two locations.
“This new board has reached out to First Nations groups and we do a lot more consultation in everything we do,” Coupar told Vancity Buzz.
“Both those areas are significant to the First Nations – those were major meeting places, so it’s more archaeological – anytime you install a piece of art, you have to do some excavation, so the sensitivity is around that.”
According to a report released by the Parks Board, 2,097 surveys were completed, which is a much higher than average response for a public consultation. In the end, 33 per cent of respondents wanted to see English Bay become home to the love lock sculpture versus 24 per cent of people who selected Queen Elizabeth Park.
The survey ran from August 19 to September 16. Around 57 per cent of respondents liked the idea, while 29 per cent were opposed to it. Fourteen per cent were neutral and respondents were overwhelmingly female.
In the end, Coupar thinks the more romantic location was chosen by the board.
“There’s a lot of weddings there – it’s kind of symbolic of love up there. The wedding pavilion is there, people visit the Bloedel Conservatory, it’s a very romantic place,” he said.
Two possible locations in Queen Elizabeth Park include the grassy knoll near the terminus of the zip line and a slope near the wedding permitted area.
The love locks phenomenon originated in Paris, most famously on the Ponts des Arts bridge, where lovebirds affixed locks to the railings to show their undying commitment to one another. More than one million locks had been clamped onto the bridge before they were all removed this past summer over safety concerns; a portion of the bridge fell into the Seine River under the weight in 2014.
Burrard Bridge was the unofficial love locks location in Vancouver, but the locks were removed in 2013 over concerns of debris falling onto boats and people in False Creek.
Coupar said the artist hasn’t been chosen yet, but he imagines there will be many applicants. Funding for the project will come out of the Parks Board’s 2015 capital reserve, although we likely won’t see the sculpture until nine to 12 months down the line in 2016.