This is a letter I sent to New Westminster officials on Sunday, May 4th, 2014.
Dear Mayor and Council,
With this letter, I would like to voice my support for the New Westminster public art arranged by the Vancouver Biennale organization. I am particularly enthusiastic about Brazilian sculptor Jose Resendes profound WOW New Westminster shipping container proposal.
Like many in the Royal City, I have recently been investing considerable time and energy on an ongoing campaign to reduce the impact of heavy truck traffic on our residential streets. Surely container tucks are among the noisiest and ugliest vehicles rattling their way through our streets and psyches. Containers symbolize the jarring, disturbing and unsettling presence of huge machines invading our quiet spaces.
Paradoxically, shipping containers are also a fitting metaphor for our Citys very existence. The great river that lumbers past our doors is itself a highway, a vital corridor for the commerce that sustains life here and abroad. If not for that highway, New Westminster would never have been imagined on these hills. Canoes, long boats, sailing ships, steam vessels and now massive freighters navigate the mighty Fraser bringing from near and far the things we make, need and want. Containers may carry cars and TVs, but they also carry the belongings of thousands of families arriving here from distant shores.
In our zeal to protect our livable avenues from invasive transport vehicles, we risk inadvertently repudiating the commercial activity that makes possible our City, region, and world. What better way to dispel the notion that New Westminster is against global transport than raising the lowly shipping container to the level of high art? The conversations this spectacle would raise are limitless.
WOW New Westminster, both literally and figuratively, embodies the delicate balance we all must strive for between livability and economic prosperity. Through this striking public art, the Royal City can brand itself as a visionary community, navigating a path that carefully integrates our transportation soul with our people centric future. Its an inspiring mission.