City asking for Expressions of Interest for 'refreshing' the area surrounding City Hall

By Pepper Parr

December 8th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They are serious.

The city has put out Requests for Expressions of Interest for the renewal of Civic Square.

Public Art Plan (Phase 1) Civic Square Renewal. The City invites Canadian professional artists and artist-led teams to submit credentials and expressions of interest to create a Public Art Plan for the Civic Square

The City of Burlington will be refreshing the area surrounding City Hall. This includes Civic Square, City Hall’s Brant Street entrance and facade and the streetscapes of Brant Street and Elgin Street in the immediate area.

City wants to “refresh” the look of Civic Square and add a nicer entrance to City Hall. The work is covered by finds from the federal and provincial governments and more than $1 million that is currently sitting in a reserve account. No “impact” on the taxpayers.

The selected artist(s) will work directly with the City’s design and architecture teams to develop a Public Art Plan for integrated, permanent public artwork(s) to be installed in Civic Square.  Click HERE to learn more and access the online application.

Deadline:  Friday, February 2, 2024

Phase 1 Budget:    $20,000

Phase 2 Budget:    $150,000

Application Package:  Civic Square Application Package (PDF)

The assignment is to refresh the area surrounding City Hall. This includes Civic Square, City Hall’s Brant Street entrance and facade and the streetscapes of Brant Street and Elgin Street in the immediate area.

Scope of Work:  Phase 1 (Public Art Plan)

The selected artist(s) will work directly with the City’s design and architecture teams to develop a Public Art Plan for integrated, permanent public artwork(s) to be installed in Civic Square.

Key Deliverables (Phase 1)

Key deliverables include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Attend approximately 8-10 project meetings (scheduled between May –December 2024).
  • Review background materials, public consultation results and preferred Civic Square design concept drawings and reports.
  • Prepare a draft Public Art Plan outlining options for public art and conceptual approach to the project. Present the draft plan to the Civic Square team for feedback.  Revise draft based on provided feedback.
  • Prepare and present a final Public Art Plan with finalized design details including artwork design renderings, materials list, timeline, budget, proposed subcontractors (if applicable), etc. The artist is not expected to provide engineer/shop drawings at this stage.
  • Provide ongoing project documentation and reports as required.
  • Meet with Civic Square design team for review and approval of final design concept(s).
  • The artist is not expected to supply any fabrication or installation services during Phase 1 of the project. A separate contract will be issued for Phase 2 (Artwork Fabrication and Installation).

Please note, Phase 1 of this project is for a Public Art Plan (preliminary design concept) only and does not include the engineering, fabrication, or installation of the artwork.  The selected artist will prepare a Public Art Plan that identifies opportunities for integrated public art projects.  This could include stand-alone artwork, functional artwork (i.e., seating, shade structures, etc.), surface treatments, etc. as well as helping to identify additional opportunities for temporary artwork and/or placemaking initiatives.  Once the Public Art Plan has been approved, the artist will be expected to provide preliminary renderings of the approved public art project(s) and integrations.

The selected artist will be issued a separate contract for Phase 2 of the project (Artwork Fabrication and Installation).  The approximate public art budget for Phase 2 is $150,000 (excluding below-grade foundations).  Budget allocations will be determined according to the scope of work that is approved in Phase 1.  It is anticipated that the artwork will be unveiled in the Summer/Fall of 2026.

How to Apply

Important!  Please download the full Civic Square Application Package (PDF) as this contains important project information and application instructions.  Applications may be submitted online via submittable.  You will need to create a free account to access the online application form.

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11 comments to City asking for Expressions of Interest for ‘refreshing’ the area surrounding City Hall

  • David

    I’ve lived in this city (ward-2) for over forty years and my one and only wish has always been that they move city hall including all the ancillary city buildings and staff, and vehicles and equipment and parking spaces and noise and unwanted ideas somewhere in the middle of Burlington. for God’s sake go, leave us in peace.

  • Charlie Schwartz

    Another have to have project dreamed up by the mandarins at City Hall. Just like the Pier to nowhere, or the gold plated Joe Brant Museum was so they can put a plaque up with their names on it. Doesn’t matter where they say the money is coming from its ALL coming out of the taxpayers pockets whether at the municipal, provincial or federal level. A total unnecessary waste that we don’t have a say about that will be rammed through.

  • Stephen White

    Given what a mess downtown Burlington looks like with all the ongoing construction, ugly sterile and boxy condos, empty buildings and lack of retail shopping space, I guess they might as well plant a few trees and put up some art work. I understand the same approach is used in Detroit to hide graffiti and compensate for the lack of vitality.

  • Caren

    The Reserve funds that are in the Reserve Accounts still come from Burlington Property Tax Payers. It’s not free money. This Civic Square renewal project is costing Burlington Property Tax Payers approximately 1.3 million dollars.
    The balance being paid by both Provincial and Federal funds, also paid for by Tax Payers.
    This money could have gone into reducing the 2024 Property Tax Increase.
    Again, not a necessity.

  • Anne and Dave Marsden

    There is a serious issue in terms of the legitimacy of this project a s a future budget item given it was approved by a previous council for a clean up of access and safety issues. The safety and Access issues remain while MMW and Council try to put their very expensive brand stamp on city hall and the Downtown.

    There was no motion of reconsideration of the council decision was the opportunity to do that ended with the 2018 election..Instead the council of newbies aided and abetted by a new city manager hand picked by our Mayor decided they can do whatever they want when they want.

    Add to that Mr. Commisso in 2019 approved use of Rural Main Street funding for a project that was not rural main Street, something the external Auditor should have picked up. All part of the upcoming meeting with the city to try and resolve these very significant accountability and transparency issues prior to Ombudsman involvement.

    • Gary Scobie

      I remember that time. The real concerns were safety and accessibility, not prettying Civic Square up necessarily. The former Council did approve it, but I always wondered why nothing happened. I guess first it was the election coming and going, then maybe Covid? But somehow the project got derailed and the interior work of City Hall came along instead. Not a necessity in this citizen’s eyes nor any big improvement.

      Neither is the Civic Square project a necessity, beyond dealing with the worn bricks for safety and the entrances for accessibility. I like the Square basically as it is. But we just got another award as one of the Best Cities for something and I guess that is motivation enough for this Council to justify spending more than is necessary on this project rather than actually helping citizens in some meaningful way. Again there is that nagging feeling of sadness.

      Editor’s note: The city learned of ad grant opportunity that made the project financially feasibility.

  • You can take a survey here. https://www.getinvolvedburlington.ca/civicsquare?tool=survey_tool#tool_tab

    Much of the money, $7 + million, is from the federal and provicial governments. From memory 1.3 million is from reserve funds and that money could be used other things. Burlington tax payers will be picking up the cost overruns. Council is creating a legacy for generations to come, far be it for us to stand in their way.

  • Grahame

    Raising our taxes by 7% for non essential vanity projects like this……good lord!

    Editor’s note: There isn’t a penny of the taxes that will be raised being spent on the building of the new look Civic Square. There will be staff time spent on the project. The funds that the city has to put up are in reserve accounts.

    The really interesting issue is – where is the public input? When do YOU get to give an opinion?

    • Lynn Crosby

      They could have used that money to spend on something they instead added to the budget. Money not spent on a vanity project can be directed to a necessary expenditure as a cost avoidance. Totally agree with Grahame’s “non-essential vanity projects” reference.

      Will someone with a clue on how to be fiscally responsible, transparent, accountable and honest run in 2026? I sure hope so.