The county of Stettler has approved funding for a mural project on the water reservoir in Erskine, the artwork being completed last week.
Although the county has applied for a Heritage Grant to help with the expense of this mural project, they are yet to know the results, which led county council to go ahead with the approval at a council meeting on Aug.12.
Located strategically, the water reservoir is a great source for residents of Erskine and Buffalo Lake.
“The Erskine water reservoir is part of the county’s commitment to provide safe, non-staining and potable water to our residents,” said Joe Gendre, county councillor, Erskine-Buffalo Lake. “With a capacity of 95,000 gallons, the reservoir is conveniently located for Erskine, Buffalo Lake, agriculture and fire-fighting needs in the northwest corner of the county.”
Speaking of the importance of the reservoir, Gendre added, “By having the school connected to this community water source, it will help remove the concern of testing water for bacteria at Erskine School while providing reliability, and this should eliminate school shut downs due to the unreliable nature of the well.”
The purpose of the mural project was to place a large, historical piece of artwork on the recently constructed water reservoir in Erskine.
“This mural is a great display and depicts our history and civic pride,” said Gendre. “The mural was an idea that came out of the Erskine Concept Plan, a community-driven initiative completed in January of 2012.”
Speaking of the plan, Gendre said that it called for a water tower that would mimic the train station water tower depicted in the Glenbow museum picture of 1910.
The artwork is a photograph obtained from the Glenbow Archives depicting the water tower servicing the Village of Erskine in 1910.
According to Gendre, the council could not justify the extra cost of building a eight-sided water tower, hence the mural project.
The artwork is a photograph of the original water tower that serviced Erskine in 1910, depicting how water was delivered to the residents over 100 years ago.
The county hopes this would create a “wonderful opportunity” for residents and visitors to compare life now to 100 years ago, when Erskine was a fledgling community.
The mural has been installed on the side of the water reservoir and truck-fill station building, which is a prominent location for all those who stop by to use the truck fill and RV dump located there.
The County of Stettler will be responsible for all required maintenance of the artwork and the area around the building.
Significance of the mural
Going back to history, the water tower was an unusual octagon shape, making it a very distinct feature in the early Erskine landscape.
It was located right along the railway, closely situated to the train station and the elevator.
The artwork that the county chose depicts all three of these very important structures to the early settlement of Erskine.
Erskine remained a very important service centre not only to the agriculture community, but as a gateway community to the highly popular Buffalo Lake South Shore Recreation Area, providing fuel and supplies to tourists and locals alike.
The water tower continued to be a defining piece of Erskine landscape, serving a very important purpose, as well as providing character to this busy service centre. According to the county as they embark on a modern-day servicing project,to continue to bring water and services to the hamlet of Erskine, the photograph of the existing water tower will remind the people that water is and will continue to be the most important factor in building a community.
The artwork has been installed on the side of the water reservoir and truck-fill station, where the land and buildings are owned by the County of Stettler.