Art project gets brush off over safety concerns
Colleen Schmidt, CTV Calgary
Published Wednesday, June 11, 2014 5:11PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 11, 2014 6:53PM MDT
A local painter is getting rave reviews for her latest project so she was a bit surprised when she was told it wasn’t safe and had to go.
Mary-Leigh Doyle spent months planning to paint an ENMAX box on Fisher Street in the city’s southeast.
Doyle took a week to paint the box but just before she was finished, ENMAX said it had to go.
It turns out that the property manager who hired Doyle didn't realize that the city had to sign off on the job.
There are nearly 200 boxes around the city that have been decorated by local artists but ENMAX says it has a couple of concerns about the art exhibit in this instance.
One of the issues is that projects like this need to be signed off on to ensure that the kind of paints being used are not corrosive and will not damage equipment. Also the community is supposed to be consulted on the type of design and decisions need to be made on how to maintain it.
“Obviously, it’s sensitive equipment that’s inside and it’s also a safety issue for us so we need to make sure there are certain parameters that are being met and conditions,” said Doris Kaufman from ENMAX.
The bigger issue is that the safety stickers and serial numbers have been painted over and that can hamper crews if they need to identify a box quickly.
“That’s important for two reasons. Number one, maintenance in general, you always want to make sure you’re working on the correct piece of equipment when crews are being sent out but more importantly during emergency situations, it’s not uncommon that we’re contacted by the fire department who, because of an emergency situation have asked Enmax to shut down the power to a particular building or a segment of buildings, we need to make sure as quickly as possible that we are dealing with the correct piece of equipment, not shutting down excess customers that are not required,” said Kaufman.
Doyle is still hoping that the project can be salvaged in some way.
“I was obviously disappointed because this is not just a metal box anymore in my mind and probably in the minds of other artists, it's now a work of art and as artists we like to think that elevated it beyond the value of the metal and the primer that sits on that surface so very disappointing,” said Doyle.
ENMAX says it is still figuring out what to do and may just remove the paint from one side so the serial number and safety stickers are visible.
(With files from Chris Epp)