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

Mainroad begins their chip seal program

Submitted Mainroad crews are performing their chip seal program over the next… Continue reading

UPDATED: Torch lit in Cranbrook to start countdown to BC 55+ Games

The Kimberley/Cranbrook 2018 55+ BC Games will take place Sept. 11-15

Closing arguments heard in sex assault trial

Crown and defence lawyers argued two vastly difference scenarios in the closing… Continue reading

The Great Sam Steele Parade of 2018

Crowds pack new downtown route to see massive parade unfurl, Saturday, June 16

Teck donates $1 million to College of the Rockies

Investment in facilities and student scholarships boosts regional trades training

The fabulous, fantastic, famous Wiener Dog races

One of the showcase attactions of Cranbrook’s Sam Steele Days festival are the Wiener Dog races — thrills and chills galore!

EDITORIAL: All children created equal

There are still some who justify President Donald Trump’s treatment of migrant children

BC Ferries posts strong earnings before rate cuts

Last year highest ever for vehicle traffic, most walk-ons in 20 years

More than 150 tremors hit Vancouver Island in last 24 hours

Seismologists monitor to see if pressure will be added to major fault

Snapchat used to make mass shooting threat in Kamloops

RCMP did not dub the threat a hoax, instead called it “unsubstantiated”

B.C. groups file response to government’s fight against solitary confinement

B.C. Supreme Court judge suspended ruling for one year to give government time to draft legislation

National sports organizations have to report allegations of abuse immediately

Sporting organizations will lose federal funding if abuse goes unreported, says Kirsty Duncan

BC conservation officers release badger from wolf trap

Badger recovering after being caught in trap near Williams Lake

B.C. Christian school mulls covenant, future of law school after court ruling

The university still wants to open a law school, but is looking at its options.

Most Read