Ward 2 councillor Susan Myers did most of the heavy lifting last night as City Council pondered the future of 40 chunks of granite.
The maple leaf-shaped 50-pound slabs commemorating outstanding Saultites were originally commissioned for a downtown Walk of Fame similar to sidewalk installations in Hollywood and Toronto's theatre district.
But the granite 'stars' turned out to be no match for Northern Ontario winters, quickly cracking and deteriorating into embarrassing political millstones.
No one has been inducted into the Sault Walk of Fame since 2015.
The hefty rocks were pulled out as part of that year's downtown streetscaping and ever since, city officials have wrestled with alternative ways to display them.
In this year's municipal budget, $20,605 was allocated to place the granite albatrosses on pedestals in downtown flower beds.
Half the money has already been spent cutting the leaves from surrounding concrete, cleaning and buffing them, but public works staff determined there were problems with the planned display:
- the leaves are considered too heavy to be mounted on pedestals
- they wouldn't be visible in winter
- in summer they could be obscured by flower beds
- the leaves have sharp edges that could pose dangers to the public
So public works staff worked up yet another display concept: placing the maple leaves in double-sided cabinets made of steel with a concrete base and Lexan (thermoplastic polymer) protective cover.
Two cabinets were recommended to display the 40 existing Walk of Fame inductees: one near the Essar Centre and the other in the vicinity of Centennial Library.
The two cabinets could be constructed with the project's existing budget, staff said.
Councillor Myers had reservations last night, pointing our that the original concept for the Walk of Fame involved granite stones "sprinkled throughout the downtown" as part of a walk, not a static display.
Myers also expressed accessibility concerns for those viewing the displays from wheelchairs or as youngsters.
"The height of any cabinets, if that's the route we go, ought to consider viewing to accommodate our younger folks, the part of the population whom we want to see inspired by these accomplished Saultites," the councillor said.
Myers also pointed out the city's intention to resume accepting nominations for induction into the Walk of Fame.
"When we think about how we're going to display them going forward, we need to think about the future of the program."
Councillors voted in favour of a proposal from Myers to establish a committee to make recommendations for the Walk of Fame.
Councillors Myers, Butland and Shoemaker will be members of the new committee, as well as appropriate city staffers and a representative of the Downtown Association.
As she spoke at last night's City Council meeting, Councillor Myers had one of the 50-pound granite slabs on her desk, commemorating the 2011 induction of Tanya Kim.
"Mr. Butland offered to help me lift it up here but I managed to do it myself," Myers grunted.
Sault Ste. Marie Walk of Fame inductees
neurologist, astronaut, first Canadian woman in space
Francis H. Clergue
industrialist and visionary
Joanie and Gary McGuffin
adventurers, conservationists, authors
NHL- and junior-level hockey coach
world-record-setting speed skater
author and humourist
NHL player, executive, Team Canada 1972 alumnus
NHL player, executive and Team Canada 1972 alumnus
forester and academic
broadcaster and politician
union leader and driving force behind Group Health Centre
junior hockey executive and co-founder of Soo Greyhounds
lyric spinto soprano
Dr. David Walde
oncologist, cancer treatment pioneer, hospital fundraiser
coloratura soprano soloist
organizer of many curling events including the 1978 Macdonald Lassies Tournament and 1990 Labatt Brier
broadcasting executive and MPP for Sault Ste. Marie
MCpl Scott Vernelli
served in Afghanistan with Royal Canadian Regiment
fundraiser and volunteer
Dr. Peter Black
advocate of secondary school athletics
dance instructor and theatrical producer
television personality (eTalk) and philanthropist
educator, member of the Canadian Forces (49th Field Artillery Regiment, RCA), humanitarian
retired steelworker, promoter of anti-drug education and causes
Founder of the Boys Naval Brigade
Journalist (Sault Star, Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, The Fifth Estate) and author (Life with Billy)
Tony Van Den Bosch
social worker and pioneer in addiction treatment
Sir William Hearst
attorney, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, premier of Ontario (1914-1919)
Team Jacobs (Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E. J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden)
Mac and B.J. Marcoux
paralympian alpine skiers
journalist/editor (Sault Daily Star, Calgary Sun, Toronto Sun, The London Free Press) and publishing executive (Sun Media)
James W Curran
Publisher of Sault Star and founder of Sault Rotary Community Day Parade