Calgary public art receives dubious distinction for government waste - 660 NEWS
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Calgary public art receives dubious distinction for government waste

In honour of public art spending, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has awarded the City of Calgary a Teddy Award -- which is a golden pig statue -- to call out wasteful spending. Wednesday February 14th, 2018.

The City of Calgary’s public art projects are finally getting some recognition, in the form of a lifetime achievement award for government waste. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation 20th Annual Teddy Awards were announced Wednesday, with a nod to Calgary’s art program.

The CTF pointed to projects such as the Bowfort Towers at the Trans Canada Highway and Bowfort Road interchange, a half a million dollar installation panned by Calgarians and First Nations, which saw similarities between the exhibit and burial scaffolds.

“It really united Calgarians this summer because of how ridiculous the structure was,” said Alberta Director Colin Craig.

He also noted the “Giant Blue Ring” off Deerfoot Trial, a $470,000 exhibit and the $236,000 dressing up of the Forest Lawn Lift Station, which has lights that change colour based on how much sewage is running through the pipes.

“Over the years it’s cost millions and millions of dollars so it’s really been a lot of money and we think there’s a better way to fund public art, for example corporate sponsorship like some other cities have done,” said Craig.

Despite several nominations and awards over the years, the Government of Alberta did not make the cut for a Teddy.

“It’s a good thing they haven’t been nominated and that they didn’t win this year, but you never know what’s going to happen in the future,” said Craig.

Ottawa won a Teddy for its $10.5 million payout to Omar Khadr and a $5.6 million ice rink outside Parliament Hill, which is just a few blocks from the Rideau Canal Skateway.