New sign tells story behind mural

A Trail mural that highlights how vital the Columbia River is to the community’s history is now in an interpretive display in East Trail.

A Trail mural that highlights how vital the Columbia River is to the community’s history is now further depicted in an interpretive display in East Trail. Teck paid for the $5,000 sign that just went up this week across from River ReConnect, the city’s seventh mural that is a tribute to the complex economic, social and environmental dynamics of the river system. “It’s been a long time coming,” said Trail councillor Gord DeRosa, as he noted the sign also gives special thanks to the mural’s major sponsors. The 200-foot-wide painting on the Trail Memorial Centre offers symbolic images like a bald eagle with a maple leaf wing – representing the trans-boundary of the Columbia as two nations, one river. This and other details are explained on the sign located on the boat launch road near Gyro Park, which offers a perfect view of the city’s largest painting by Nelson artists Tyler Toews and Steven Skolka. “It’s hard to not get behind a project that talks about the river,” said Columbia Basin Trust director of youth initiatives Wayne Lundeberg, who was among the stakeholders on hand to unveil the sign Thursday. Rivers in the Basin were almost like highways in the past, he said, adding that the project really fit well with the organization’s effort to support Basin people on projects that create a legacy of social, economic and environmental well being. Craig Adams of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team, which spearheaded the project, said the new sign invites residents and tourists to look at the mural from a different side of town all while teaching those interested a snippet of history in a beautiful setting. He sees the mural as a gateway to downtown and although the fairly new committee wasn’t in place when the mural was created last year, Adams said the project is a great fit for the Downtown and Opportunities and Action Committee’s vision to revitalize the core. For DeRosa, the sign is the last nail hammered into a project that started six years ago when he envisioned the mural along with Teck biologist Bill Duncan and local artist John Feesey. In 2005, the three Trailites attended the Columbia River “Headwaters to the Coast Tour,” a 12-day excursion for teachers and community leaders from B.C., Washington, Oregon and Idaho to learn more about the river system. The idea sprouted then but wasn’t set in motion until the $83,000 mural was taken on by the LCCDT, which secured funding from many players. The project was pushed into swing with $24,000 to Trail from the Columbia Basin Trust’s community initiative program. Funding from the city to Trail Community in Bloom resulted in $10,000 for the project; Teck ponied up $20,000; CBT pitched another $15,000 and Chinook Scaffold donated back in kind, charging only half of the regular $24,400 for the scaffolding.