Proposed Vancouver statue draws intrigue from visitors, ire from neighbours

A statue of a blue boy holding a shark atop a lighthouse-like pedestal is slated to be placed along Vancouver’s waterfront at Stamps Landing at the end of June, unless neighbours have something to do with it.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in my opinion it’s kind of scary looking,” said one resident. “It’s not something that I would want to wake up in the morning, open the drapes, and take a look at.”

Condo owners who live on either side of the proposed site told CTV News Vancouver the art piece - called "Boy Holding A Shark" and designed by Chen Wenling - is too big, will obscure their views and will bring more foot and bicycle traffic into an already busy area.

“It will block off the light to the garden, it will block off the view of the garden,” said Maggie Rayner, who lives nearby.

Neighbours have launched a petition in hopes of convincing City of Vancouver staff to reject the idea.

Vancouver Biennale is the group proposing the art installation.

“I think every installation that we’ve ever put up in the last 20 years has always been called 'ugly,' 'it’s destroying my space,' and 'I don’t want something to take away from the greenness,'" said curator Barrie Mowatt.

He suggested neighbours may be misinformed about the statue, and may grow to appreciate the piece, just like the people in English Bay who hated the idea of the Laughing Men statues and now love them.

A placard describing "Boy Holding A Shark," certainly caught the attention of passers-by, and many said, “I like it.”

“The fact that so many people are coming here taking pictures of it means it’s effective. I do like it,” said Granville Island resident Brent Restivo.

The proposal is still in the public consultation process, and if the city approves it, the statue will remain in Stamps Landing for two years.

But skeptical neighbours say the would-be guests already stink.