Big numbers cost big money

Teresa Wright twright@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on June 5, 2014

The numbers installed at Province House and Founders Hall celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference are proving popular with tourists and Islanders alike. Many tourists like Akssell Leiva, who is taking a photo of his wife, Ling, stop to take photos of the sign or to read the history behind the 1864 conference on a plaque adjacent ot the numbers.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

Two big numbers sculptures in Charlottetown have cost taxpayers big numbers.

The two sculptures depict the dates 1864 and 2014 in big, red digits.

1864 is at Province House and was an initiative of Parks Canada. 2014 is at the Charlottetown waterfront and was P.E.I. 2014 Inc. project.

Four of the eight numbers that make up the two sculptures were repurposed from a War of 1812 structure built in Halifax in 2012.

The one and the eight are at Province House. The two and the one are on the waterfront.

Parks Canada and P.E.I. 2014 Inc. partnered on a tender, awarded to the Quebec-based company Storeimage, for the remaining digits needed for their two sculptures.

The ‘zero’ and the ‘four’ commissioned to complete the 2014 sculpture cost $50,000.

“They’re custom made,” said Patricia Devine, director of communications for P.E.I. 2014 Inc.

“Oh my god,” said Opposition Leader Steven Myers reacting to news of the cost.

“I think it’s the epitome of bad decisions and a government without out any plan or priorities if they think it’s OK to spend $50,000 on a zero and a four.”

Myers said he talks to Islanders every day who are struggling to make ends meet.

He also pointed to cuts in the social services budget and the calls for more mental health and addictions services in P.E.I.

He believes Islanders will be seeing red over this expenditure.

“I can’t imagine that people are going to be happy to find out $50,000 was spent on two numbers.”

Parks Canada did not respond to The Guardian’s request for information about how much it paid for the ‘six’ and ‘four’ needed for its 1864 sculpture.

All four numbers commissioned for the two sculptures were part of the same tender.