New Lasalle public art piece unveiled to fans and criticism
A new piece of public art was unveiled on Sunday, leaving some residents astonished not at its beauty, but its price tag.
The monument, which is constructed of large slabs of concrete and marble, was commissioned for Lasalle’s one hundredth birthday. Named Au Grand Dam in honour of the famous Lachine rapids, it was unveiled by former prime minister Paul Martin, who used to be the MP for the riding and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was also on hand.
“I’m pleased to be here to make it public,” said Coderre. “Sometimes, it’s good to be happy for some of the things happening for the good, for the signature of Montreal.”
Coderre’s optimistic view of the sculpture isn’t shared by everyone.
The piece took several years to construct and the final bill came to $680,000, mostly paid for by taxpayer money.
“We got the bad roads, we go some issues here and they spend money for this?” said one resident.
“For me, it’s not a plus. We don’t need it here because the nature is so beautiful,” said another.
However, not all members of the public hated.
“It’s okay, it’s special, it’s a nice addition to the landscape here,” said one other. “I like it very much.”
Au Grand Dame is one of over 300 publiclly funded art projects in Montreal. It’s not the first one to draw some of the public’s ire. Earlier this summer, granite stumps that cost $3.45 million were announced as part of an effort to beautify Mount Royal.
In 2015, a giant wheel costing $1.1 million was unveiled in Montreal North, leaving many residents unimpressed.
Heritage Montreal Policy Director Dinu Bumbaru defended the projects, saying the public is cut off from the creative process.
“The public is not engaged from the beginning and only sees these things after the fact,” he said.