Things got a lot more colourful at the corner of Bowker Avenue and Cadboro Bay Road as construction site hoarding transformed into a student art gallery.
As part of their initiative to improve the intersection, Abstract Developments invited students to decorate the site hoarding with art panels in an effort to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities at the intersection. During rezoning for the 43-unit Bowker development in Oak Bay, Abstract Developments gave $100,000 as an amenity earmarked for upgrades to the corner of Bowker and Cadboro Bay.
“I would like to thank you for your involvement in the intersection,” said Abstract’s founder and CEO, Mike Miller, to the students. “Thank you for taking ownership in your own community to try to make it better. Sitting back and watching things happen is one way of doing it but getting involved in your community and making your voice known is really what makes a difference.”
The student art panels at the site, created by Tim Murphy’s Grade 5 class from École Willows, were officially unveiled on April 5.
“This is great engagement for kids at Willows school. They get involved in their community, they understand their community, and they contribute to their community,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.
Murphy’s class has been following the progress of the development, as the class works on a project to re-envision the Oak Bay travel corridor around their school, which includes the intersection in front of the Bowker Collection. The re-envisioning initiative began in light of Oak Bay council confirming they would move forward with creating bike lanes from Foul Bay Road to Bowker Avenue. The Willows students and PAC are working hard to get Oak Bay to consider expanding to include the Cadboro Bay corridor from Bowker Avenue to beyond the school in this year’s budget.
In November, the students had an opportunity to seek guidance and advice from architects, politicians, police, and a facilitator from Hub for Active School Travel (HASTe) who came to their classroom for a presentation and discussion on urban design, safety, and the importance of alternate modes of transportation, such as cycling and walking.
“This was an amazing project because it brought real meaningful learning into the classroom. The kids feel like they can have an impact,” said Grade 5 Ecole Willows teacher Tim Murphy.
Murphy’s class will present creative solutions and recommendations to improve the intersection and travel corridor to Oak Bay Council during a budget estimates committee meeting next week.
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