RDEK wrestles with highway billboard signage

A discussion on a Kimberley-based business’ off-highway billboard advertising sparked a wider debate on the topic during a regional district meeting last week.

Kimberley’s Spirit Rock Climbing Centre has two highway billboards on Highway 95A near Wycliffe and Meadowbrook, but were petitioning the RDEK board for a Development Variance Permit to bring the signs into compliance with existing bylaws.

However, the discussion around the board table soon shifted from the Spirit Rock Climbing Centre’s specific request to an overall broad conversation on the merits of billboard advertising on highways.

Much of the rural regional directors were opposed to the signage based on concerns about unsightliness and distracted driving, while some of the municipal directors wished to see the signage used as advertising for tourism and local economies.

Jane Walter, the director for Area E outside Kimberley, Wasa and up to Skookumchuk, opened the discussion, saying that her constituents didn’t want to see highway billboard advertising.

Dan Savage, the alternate director for Area A who was serving in the stead of an absent Mike Sosnowski, said that billboard advertising hurts tourism.

“The consensus in the Elk Valley was signage actually worked against tourism and to be a tourism community, we had to clear out the cluttered signage that created a trashy look to a visitor coming into the valley,” Savage said.

However, others, including Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt, argued in favour of allowing highway signage for advertising the goods and services of local businesses.

“This, to me, we put money into tourism, we sit around this table — and believe me, I am all 100 per cent for business — and we have to get that message out, that we’re open for business,” said Pratt. “If we’re telling businesses you can’t advertise, we’re going against what we’re supporting in other means.

“…If you run a business without advertising, it’s like winking at a pretty girl in the dark.”

Eventually, the debate turned into a general discussion about the issue, as the RDEK does not have a sign bylaw except under the Elk Valley Official Community Plan (OCP), according to RDEK manager Andrew Mcleod.

“In most areas, the regulations around signs are embedded in our zoning regulations, the exception is the Elk Valley,” Mcleod told the board, “where there is a stand-alone sign bylaw, but no instances does the RDEK issue permits for signs; we just establish the rules, then those people erecting the signs are expect to abide by the relevant regulations for their area.”

The board kicked around suggested a temporary use permit or simply bylaw non-enforcement if the development variance permit was refused, however, both options were dismissed.

Just Posted

‘The Grizzlies’ screens at Mt. Baker

A total of 26 of Mount Baker Secondary School’s classes signed up… Continue reading

Canada Post union issues strike notice

The union representing Canada Post workers has issued a 72-hour strike notice… Continue reading

Alcohol a suspected factor in highway collision

Alcohol is a suspected factor in a two-vehicle accident south of Cranbrook… Continue reading

882 ballots cast in second advance poll

The City of Cranbrook reports that 882 ballots were cast by voters… Continue reading

B.C. NDP retreats again on empty-home tax for urban areas

Rate reduced for all Canadians, dissident mayors to get annual meeting

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started weedmama.ca to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Most Read