You may have noticed some activity near the City of Selkirk’s water tower and that activity is ushering in a new era and a much-needed face-lift for the 135-foot icon.
Work on the tower that was set to start in the spring of 2020 took a back seat to COVID-19 but is underway now and will be well worth the wait.
The city hired Carlson Commercial and Industrial Services to perform the work, which will start with stripping the current paint in an environmentally controlled space. Once that process is complete, painting the top portion of the tower to Selkirk-raised graphic designer Robyn Kacperski’s design will take place.
Mayor Larry Johannson said the water tower is as emblematic of Selkirk as catfish and the local steel mill and he’s excited about the upgrades.
“This is a project that’s been a long time coming. Unfortunately, with COVID we had to delay for a year, but for a project like this where timing is critical, it just had to be done because of the uncertainty of labour availability not to mention weather. 2021 is the year though. We can’t wait to see Robyn’s design high above Selkirk. It’s going to be fantastic,” Johannson said
Kacperski’s design uses the city’s brand elements, with the city’s logo painted on opposite sides around the widest area. The bottom portion will include an in-depth mural, the design of which is still to be determined.
Chief Administrative Officer Duane Nicol said the city wants to add a feature to the tower that will make visiting it more of an experience.
“By adding a mural to the bottom we’re creating a space for photos to be taken, memories to made and exploring to take place,” Nicol said.
“This mural will be a strong reflection of the community renewal and regeneration we’re seeing around us. It’s truly an exciting project. We can’t wait until this is done for the community to enjoy and be proud of.”
A request for proposal for the mural will be going out this spring, and the city is looking for a submission that will pay tribute to Selkirk’s culture and history.
Dan McDermid, Director of Operations, said the tower is still doing its job but if the exterior was left unchecked it would eventually impact the performance.
“The paint acts as the skin of the water tower, it’s external and it’s keeping the elements away from the metal. So, the paint is more than aesthetics, it’s critical maintenance,” McDermid said.
The tower, built in 1961 and last painted in 1998, holds 200,000 gallons of drinking water, enough for approximately 5 hours.
Work is expected to be complete this September.