Water tower redesign underway in Selkirk, Man., after project delayed by pandemic

A makeover is finally underway for a major landmark in Selkirk, Man., after the work was put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The roughly $500,000 paint job on the city’s water tower was supposed to start last year.

The redesign of the 135-foot structure will feature an original design by Manitoba graphic designer Robyn Kacperski.

Kacperski, who was raised in Selkirk, said submitting the winning design meant a lot.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking, but you know, I think every time I come to town it’ll just put a smile on my face to see it.”

City council chose the design out of 30 entries from professional and amateur artists last year.

The redesign is a much-needed facelift for the tower, which has visible rust spots and peeling paint, a city spokesperson said last year.

Kacperski, who now lives in Winnipeg, said she got one of her first tastes of graphic design when she was going to high school in Selkirk, which is about 35 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

“Becoming a graphic designer was a really interesting choice for me. I wasn’t sure if my passion for creativity would help me through my career, if that is something that would be feasible,” she said.

“It really became clear [in school] that graphic design is something that you can totally do and you can totally make great money doing it and also be super passionate about something you love. So I’m really, really excited that I can … bring my skills back to the city and give back.”

Kacperski submitted two ideas, with the winning concept including a blue banner on top of the tower; bands of green, yellow, orange and red going into the stem, and the City of Selkirk’s logo in the middle.

Selkirk’s water tower, which has visible rust spots and peeling paint, was in serious need of some upgrades, a city spokesperson said last year. (John Einarson/CBC)

“My concept was to have the top be very visible from a distance, something that people can see and [that would] be legible from the highway, and [that would] really bring people into the city to experience Selkirk,” she said.

Kacperski said she also suggested including a community mural on the base of the tower, which the city plans to solicit from a separate contest this spring. That mural is intended to reflect Selkirk’s history.

The painting to carry out Kacperski’s design will start in a few weeks. If everything goes according to plan, the job should be finished sometime this summer, she said.

The Selkirk water tower was built in 1961 and holds 200,000 gallons of water.