Kendra Burke has been busy this summer painting fire hydrants in St. Peter’s, including this one in front of the St. Peter’s Volunteer Fire Department.

ST. PETER’S: A local university student spent her summer expressing her artistic talent, while at the same time beautifying her community.

Kendra Burke was hired this summer to give some flair to fire hydrants in St. Peter’s.

The fire hydrants in St. Peter’s were first given colourful designs around 1994, and were eventually painted over, but “people loved the painted fire hydrants and it attracted visitors to the village,” project manager Al Calder explained.

While working on a summer grant last summer, Burke was asked to paint three fire hydrants near the Lakeside Community Centre in Samsonville.

“Lee and Tom Willcock, who have a summer home there, always loved the painted fire hydrants from years ago,” Calder noted. “When Tom Willcock passed away September 2019, the painting of the hydrants was commissioned in his memory by this wife.”

After Calder was asked to manage the project, he approached Burke to see if she’d be interested.

“She has to design them herself and cannot use licensed characters or logos or anything copyright, so they’re all her ideas,” Calder said. “Every hydrant is unique and original. She has to send in the designs to be approved by the [St. Peter’s] Village Commission before she can begin painting.”

For each hydrant, Calder scrapes, sands, primes, and applies the first base coat to the hydrants.

“Kendra does the fancy work,” he said. “She uses good quality rust paint in hopes to preserve these hydrants for many years to come.”

Burke is paid by the hydrant, and although she is starting university this week, she plans to paint a few more before the weather gets too cold with plans to resume in the spring. So far, she’s painted 16 of 50 fire hydrants, but there are a number slated for replacement which will not be painted.

“Some have more details then others so she just goes at her own pace and gets paid once a hydrant is completed,”Calder said. “The weather plays a big factor in getting these painted, can’t be too windy or rain in forecast and temperatures have to be warm enough for paint to dry.”

To see all the hydrants Burke painted this summer, check out the Facebook group “Painted Fire Hydrants of St. Peter’s at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/59541129 7776464/?ref=share.

“The public feedback has been very positive and everyone seems to love them,” Calder added. “We see people sharing pictures on social media and posting pictures of their favourite ones.”