The haters won.
That was the message of a story in today’s The Globe and Mail by renowned writer and former Huntsville resident Roy MacGregor which thrusts Pipe Man — and Huntsville — back into national view. It was prompted by an announcement at Tuesday’s town council meeting that Pipefusion wants its controversial art donation back.
The floating sculpture was a gift to the Town of Huntsville in commemoration of Pipefusion’s 35th anniversary. It was removed from the Muskoka River in late October with council intending to find another suitable — read less contentious — location for it. But Jan Nyquist, Pipefusion’s owner, was having none of it.
“We didn’t want to play that game,” Nyquist told MacGregor. “We didn’t want to engage in a forum that basically was, ‘Where is a good spot where it won’t upset anybody?'”
It was the Town’s public survey that sunk Pipe Man, notes MacGregor, adding it to “a long, long list of public art that seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Former Mayor Hugh Mackenzie told MacGregor that the survey “was nothing more than an invitation to the naysayers to vent their spleen. The result was predictable and divisive.”
There are people out there who actually seemed to enjoy hating it. Those people who really loved to hate it took it as their opportunity to have some say.
Mayor Scott Aitchison, as quoted by The Globe and Mail
Mayor Aitchison offered Nyquist an apology at Tuesday’s meeting. “I regret that we’re in this situation and I apologize for my role in it,” he said, adding that he intends to engage the community on the issue of public art.
In the meantime, as one local quipped, “What will we talk about now?”
Don’t miss out on Doppler! Sign up for our free newsletter here.