If you’ve happened to travel through the intersection of Princess and Division Streets lately, you most likely noticed a number of magenta objects have popped up on the sidewalks in the area.
The eight brightly-coloured lipstick-shaped fixtures are only there temporarily, according to the City of Kingston.
“These are temporary fixtures that are in place to cover exposed sidewalk foundations until public art comes to the area as part of the Hub Project later this year,” said Derek Holota, a Communications Officer with the City of Kingston.
Holota confirmed that the “exposed sidewalk foundations” includes places where four bolts have been protruding from the sidewalk in the area. These bolts, which were left exposed for quite some time in the fall of 2019, became a topic of concern last year when local business owner, David Dossett, took to social media to voice his concerns over the bolts.
“Yesterday I was walking west on Princess Street. While waiting for the light to change I saw a woman behind me out of the corner of my eye. She tripped and was about to land on the sidewalk. I reached out to catch her, but fortunately she was able to regain footing,” Dossett wrote on Facebook in late September of 2019. “She had tripped on one of four bolts sticking up on the sidewalk, at an area heavily used because it is at the intersection of a busy crosswalk.”
Dossett said he contacted the City of Kingston about the issue and the hazard posed by the protruding bolts, and credited the City for taking swift action.
However, a few weeks later, the cautionary bollards that had been used to cover the bolts were gone.
“I thought that this was dealt with. I thought it had been solved. Again this morning I see that these four almost invisible bolts are sticking up at a busy crosswalk,” Dossett observed on Facebook on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
That day, Dossett moved a City of Kingston Public Works sawhorse he spotted in the Metro parking lot over the bolts to ensure people would see and avoid them.
Later in the year, the City of Kingston erected metal poles in the shape of a teepee over some of the the bolts in the area and others were covered with wooden barriers, all of which remained there for much of the winter.
So just what are these bolts for?
“There are mounting bolts in these spots that these fixtures are covering,” Holota confirmed on Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020. “The mounting bolts that they are covering were initially installed to hold flagpoles but the area was then designated for public art as part of the Hub Project.”
Those bolts, Hotola explained, may be used for mounting the public art installations anticipated to be installed this summer as part of ‘The Hub Project.’ According to the City, The Hub Project was launched as a public engagement initiative to “work with the public to explore and generate ideas on how the intersection could be enlivened by public art,” as “thousands of people drive, walk, or pass through the intersection every day.”
And when can residents expect the magenta fixtures to disappear and be replaced with public art? According to The Hub Project timeline, artists whose works will be featured in the installation will be selected this spring for Phase I of the project, and Phase I exhibits will be installed this summer.
“Active and lively public places are key to making Kingston a smart and livable 21st century city,” Colin Wiginton, Cultural Director for the City of Kingston, said of the project.
“The Hub Project is exciting opportunity to make this iconic gateway to downtown Kingston look and feel as vibrant as the neighbourhoods it connects.”
According to the City, the cost for the manufacturing and installation of the eight fixtures was $12,000. After public art is installed in The Hub, the fixtures will be made available to be re-used for other projects in the City.
For more information on The Hub Project from the City of Kingston, click here.