Olympic-sized inuksuk in Vancouver still looking for a home

“The statue has no heritage value for retention by the city or any of the Olympic partners”

By SPECIAL TO NUNATSIAQ NEWS

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b>BOB MACKIN
Postmedia News

A relic of the 2010 Winter Olympics stands in solitary confinement on a dusty, fenced City of Vancouver lot west of the Village on False Creek.

Tourists can’t get close enough to pose for photographs. Most Vancouverites don’t even know it’s there.

But city hall continues to seek a new home for the not-so-little, orphaned inuksuk.

The site was a temporary Vanoc parking lot for the Olympic Village during the Winter Games. Assistant city engineer Paul Henderson said the Inukshuk was abandoned by Vanoc “with the city’s permission, in the event that the city might have a use for it.”

The city decided it didn’t and advertised the inuksuk on its surplus goods website last February “for immediate sale and removal on an ‘as is, where is’ basis.”

The tendering document described the Inukshuk as an “eight-piece, fibre reinforced mortar/concrete with Styrofoam cores” that weighs 2.6 tonnes.

“The statue has no heritage value for retention by the city or any of the Olympic partners. Due to intentions of this item being temporary, discussion has occurred on whether the piece may be successfully removed intact or may have to be destroyed at site,” said the document. “The city cannot provide advice as to removal other than a crane truck with professional trained staff will be required.”

The price is negotiable and the city even offered an incentive, based on the “danger factor” for labourers and the sculpture. The purchase price would be refunded should the inuksuk be damaged during removal, on the condition that the buyer removes the debris. Deadline for bids was Feb. 9 and the city wanted it removed Feb. 15, three days after the first anniversary of the Games’ opening. But a deal fell through.

“Talks are underway with another potential buyer on a possible sale and removal,” said city spokeswoman Wendy Stewart.

“Nothing firmed up at this point, although discussions are moving forward favourably.”

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