Amherst is going to look at the maintenance and restoration of all the town’s murals, but is expected to make the crumbling North Nova Scotia Highlanders Mural a priority. Council is expecting a formal report on the cost of fixing the mural at its September meeting.
AMHERST – Amherst is going to do what it can to repair the damaged North Nova Scotia Highlanders mural.
Recreation director Bill Schurman told a recent council meeting that he is working on a plan for all the murals, but is making the Highlanders mural a priority.
“The recommendation we have is that we continue on the path we have been on in looking at all the murals, but with the recent discussions on that mural that we try to present in September more details including the actual costs and type of material for this mural,” Schurman said.
The future of the mural was placed into question several weeks ago when building owner Kevin Nelson told the town he’s growing concern with its condition. He said he’s been asking for someone to fix the wall holding the mural for five years and pointed out if nothing is done soon that he would have to fix the wall himself – something that may result in the mural being painted over.
The plan would be to create a priority list for the remaining murals with the Highlanders Mural at the top.
“My understanding is that when these murals were developed there was never a plan or money set aside for maintenance,” Mayor Dr. David Kogon said.
Amherst CAO Greg Herrett said the murals were a project of the Downtown Amherst Revitalization Society, which no longer exists. He believes at the time the organization probably figured maintenance would be a routine expense.
One of the things the town is considering is the possibility of placing the mural on a separate piece of material and affixing it to the wall. Schurman said it’s something that a lot of municipalities that have murals are moving toward.
“They moving toward placing murals on a separate wooden structure that is mounted directly onto a building. That, in some ways, would avoid issues with a building owner that may change the course of a building,” Schurman said. “It would give the municipality the opportunity to move the mural should the situation change. It also would allow the municipality to repair the mural piece by piece should something happen to the mural.”
Schurman said artist Jennifer Cormier still owns the copyright to the Highlanders mural. She is not interested in a quick fix, based on her experiences in 2010 and 2011. She estimates it would cost $10,000 to $12,000 to paint another mural similar to the existing mural.
If the mural is painted on a separate surface, she estimates materials, paints, sealants and installation would be another $7,500, bringing the total cost to $18,000 to $20,000. If the town agrees, she could have the project completed by November 2018.