By Andru McCracken
It’s a really big foot, but if you’re thinking of legendary fur-covered beasts, think again. Valemount is getting a big foot entirely unrelated to a Yeti or the abominable snowman; instead it is a reflection of Valemount present: a community in love with foot-powered recreation.
The 12-ft foot is a nod to Valemount’s culture of walking, running, hiking, rollerblading, and biking, according to artist Peggy Hubley.
The site of the installation is not yet fixed but the society proposing it has some ideas.
“My favourite part [of the Big Foot Trail] is the stretch that parallels the tracks. The trail changed a piece of road that was once uncomfortable, if not dangerous to walk, to be one of the most frequently walked, rollerbladed, jogged and biked,” said Hubley.
Neysa Weatherbee who is in charge of the public art committee for the Valemount Arts and Cultural Society said that she hopes the piece will be installed along an open stretch of the Big Foot Trail, a walking path that loops around the village.
The funding and the effort to commission the work comes from the Columbia Basin Trust and the local arts society.
The sculpture will be carved out of laminated pine beams and carved with a grinder. Stain will be used to ensure the piece lasts at least ten years, as per the granting agency’s requirements.
“After 10 years we would remove the foot and dispose of it,” said Weatherbee. “If it is still good, council could decide to keep it.”
Council is asking for an engineer to look at the proposal to ensure it wouldn’t damage buried infrastructure (the sewer line runs underneath the Big Foot Trail). In turn, VACS asked the village to cover the cost of the engineering.
In order to apply, VACS and the council need to develop a public art policy, so that VACS’ proposals could conform to it.
Mayor Owen Torgerson said he appreciated the society’s patience with the process.
“I look forward to seeing what kind of public art can be derived,” he said.