If you’ve noticed and appreciated an extra pop of colour on Eagle Run Drive, you can thank the OurSquamish Placemaking Society.
The local non-profit, which focuses on enhancing the community’s public spaces, created the area’s first street mural on the Brackendale road as part of the Squamish Wind Festival in late August.
OurSquamish’s Cameron Cope said that in addition to enhancing neighbourhood beauty, the street mural also encourages slower speeds.
As well, he hopes the project fostered some community pride.
“We had a sign out for a few weeks beforehand asking the community to answer the question, ‘What does Brackendale mean to you?’” Cope said. “We took that feedback and put it into a design that was easy enough to paint, and then with a couple other volunteers from Brackendale, we painted it.”
Suggested elements that the group incorporated into the mural were: the mountains and sky; eagles; salmon; bicycles; and, of course, a unicorn to represent the Brackendale Art Gallery.
Cope’s wife and fellow OurSquamish member Constance Wylie estimated the mural is 40 feet (12 metres) long, taking up the width of the road. The process took about six hours to complete.
When selecting Eagle Run as the location, the group balanced the fact that it’s not quite as busy as Government Road with it having the visibility of being located near the thoroughfare and several local businesses.
“It’s the hub of Brackendale with Republic [Bicycles] and the Bean [Around the World coffee shop] and the businesses there,” Wylie said. “It’s a high human-traffic area, but that area in particular sees a little less car [traffic] than Government.
“We won’t get as much wear and tear that way and people can enjoy it.”
The group used the same acrylic traffic paint that’s used for highway lines to paint the mural, which should add to its durability.
“It’s very long-lasting,” Cope said. “It totally depends on how much traffic actually goes over it.
“It’s the best stuff we could get.”
OurSquamish hopes to bring similar projects to other community neighbourhoods, with Cope noting that they received feedback from residents of other areas expressing that sentiment during the outreach in Brackendale. However, the question of funding would be the most significant hurdle.
“We know how to do it now. There was a little bit of a learning experience, for sure, and lots of reading with how to use traffic paint,” Cope said. “Once you know how to do it, it’s quite a simple process.”
The most significant challenge, according to Wylie, was adapting to the hot conditions on the day of creation.
“We’d been practising in our garage, which was really cool, and on the day, there was direct sun, so the pavement was really hot, so the paint was drying quicker than we were used to,” she said.
Added Cope: “It dries in 10 or 15 minutes, so you have to be really fast. That’s why it didn’t take too long.”
Wylie said the group is always looking for additional input.
“We’re happy for people to reach out if they want to get in touch,” she said.
For more, visit www.oursquamish.ca.