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Acton’s Heart Ripped Out By Town Over Safety Concerns

Acton recently received a heart surgery, though there is much debate as to whether this is for the better or worse. The Art installation titled “I love Acton” was taken down by Halton Hills employees yesterday January, 17, 2022 at approximately 12:30pm.

According to the BIA, they “did carefully undo the secured sculpture and hold onto all of the mounting hardware to be stored with the Love Lock Heart.”

The installation created by Doris Treleaven, Owner of Metalscape, was bought and donated by Acton Optical to the Downtown Acton BIA. Later Doris Treleaven installed the art on the corner of Main and Mill downtown on what is Town Property, that has been managed by the BIA.

Downtown Acton photo: Nancy Wilkes and Nicole Walker pictured unveiling "I Love Acton" interactive art piece.

The Artpiece was originally unveiled back on October 27 2022. On the same day, Downtown Acton shared a post with a picture of the heart and the caption “So excited for the unveiling of our new "Love of Acton" art piece, created by Metalscape Thank you Acton Optical for the beautiful gift! Come on down and lock in your love for our town by placing a padlock on the piece.” On December 22, almost a month after installation, Catherine McLeod, Manager of Culture and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion sent an email regarding safety issues of the structure to BIA and Town Staff. Artist Doris says, “I heard it was deemed unsafe, They got an engineer to come in on the 19th of December, but no one called me, no one told Nancy, the BIA just went and did it without even asking me to be there so I could fix anything.” Monica Parker- Galway, Chair of Downtown Acton was instructed by The Town of Halton Hills to seek out an independent engineer. Ambrish Saini, of Ambee Engineering and Consulting Services Inc. was hired to conduct the inspection on the art installation. Acton UP obtained the email regarding the engineer’s report (shown below). In the email Ambrish reports what he observed upon visiting the site. The report reads, “1. The sign installed was poorly supported by a steel frame of anchor plates and tie rods only. 2. The structure is Poorly connected on top of the floating stone on the ground with the anchor bolts. 3. The sign is not installed on the proper foundation, which may defeat the purpose of the design and can cause trip hazard if any kid try to climb on it. 4. The welding and the bolt connection of tie rods to the sign is not properly designed. “ The conclusion of report states,

  • “The installed sign is unsafe and recommend to remove and store in safe manner.

  • We highly recommend that the sign installation has to be designed by a competent and licensed professional with proper connection and foundation details.

  • The contractor shall adhere to the provided design and carry out the installation procedures.”

Though Treleaven strongly disagrees with much of the engineer’s report, “Its about the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s so pathetic.” Downtown Acton released on a statement via Facebook saying, “In case you are passing by the parkette and see that the Love Lock Heart is missing... Due to unforeseen circumstances the Love Lock Heart was taken down today as a precautionary measure due to concerns from the Town of Halton Hills safety requirements. We would like to extend our thanks to Nancy Wilkes and Nicole Walker from Acton Optical for this generous donation. The BIA will be working closely with the Town of Halton Hills to resolve this "heart ache”. “

Acton UP reached out to Alexandra Fuller, Director, Communications at Town of Halton Hills for a statement regarding the heart… “The Town was not aware of the piece until after it was installed. The municipality has a process.” Catherine McLeod, Manager of Culture and Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, advises that “Public art pieces installed on Town-owned property like the parkette in Acton need to go through an assessment process by Town staff and the Public Art Advisory Board. This is to ensure that public art installations are safe and to establish agreements on the artwork that outline ownership, responsibility, budgets for maintenance and repair and the length of time the piece is to be installed. These agreements ensure that public art is safe and kept in good repair. While the installation of the ‘I Love Acton’ metal sculpture, was well intended, the Town was not consulted prior to installation. An engineer contracted by the Downtown Acton BIA determined that the piece as it had been installed was unsafe and recommended that it be removed and if it was to be reinstalled, the installation would need to be designed by a licensed professional.” Matt Galliford who started his new role as BIA Coordinator after the decisions about the art were made told Acton UP, “Yes there was a safety concern raised by the town about the conditions of the installation. The recommendation was to remove it for now and look into all possible options for this art piece. It has been safely stored and meetings / discussions are to be set between the Town and BIA to find a resolution to the concerns.” However, Galliford voices his appreciation for the artwork, “In my opinion it is a great art piece and has been a part of the community focus. The BIA thanks Nancy Wilkes, Nicole Walker and Doris Treleaven for providing this donation for the community to enjoy.“ Treleaven tells Acton UP, “Nancy and I talked to the BIA, we talked to the Councillors, the Mayor was there.” She continues, “The lack of communication is sad. I do hope it stays in the parkette.”


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