VANCOUVER - Almost 1,100 people have submitted designs to the city of Vancouver's Ironclad Art Manhole Cover Design Challenge.
The judges have selected a shortlist of 28 based on qualities that include artistic excellence, clarity of vision, and originality.
There was another consideration as well, said Derek Simons, public art planner.
“Part of the purpose is to distinguish between storm and sanitary,” he said. “We wanted designs clearly distinct to delineate the differences.”
That's why two winners will be announced on Saturday: one for storm sewers and another for sanitary sewers. As part of its goal of being a much greener city, Vancouver is replacing the old sewer mains which used to carry both sewage and rainwater. The single pipes are being replaced at a rate of about 14 km a year with two sets of pipes for sewage and another for rainwater.
So when you look down and see two sets of sewer covers, you'll know that the pipes beneath the surface have been replaced with a newer, separated sewer system.
In 2004, the last time the city's public art and engineering departments worked together on manhole cover design, the city received 640 entries.
The rules allowed anyone who lived, worked or attended school in Vancouver to enter. People with little or no connection to the city from still tried to get around the rules.
Here are some of the emails that the city received from people who thought their circumstances warranted an exception:
“I used to work in Vancouver five months ago but I'm injured and no longer work there, can I enter?”
“I drive through Vancouver to my job.”
“I take a dance class in Vancouver.”
“I lived there two years ago.”
“I live in Surrey and that's Metro Vancouver, right?”
Vancouver's manhole covers weigh 113 kgs. They cost about $176 each.
Designs submitted to Ironclad Art will be on display until Saturday, June 8 at Interurban Gallery, 1 East Hastings (at Carrall).
Members of the public can also vote online and at the Interurban for the People's Choice Award at http://www.ironcladart.ca/