The Regional District of East Kootenay board of directors spent a good chunk of last week’s meeting talking about signs.
The meeting featured a lively discussion regarding the clutter of billboards in some spots in our area.
RDEK chair Rob Gay says some areas of concern are “the 4-corner area on the way to Kimberley between Kimberley and Wycliffe, the Wasa Lake area, Ta Ta Creek area. Some years ago we had a very boisterous bunch in the Elk Valley and many of those signs were removed in the area.”
Some directors find the signage to be unsightly while others feel they’re good for tourism.
The discussion was prompted by a motion to grant a development variance permit for Kimberley’s Spirit Rock Climbing Centre to allow two billboards off Highway 95A by Meadowbrook and Wycliffe to remain intact.
The board granted the permit by a vote of 7 to 6.
Gay says many directors hear from residents that the billboards are unsightly and cause clutter.
He says “it’s the long term signs on properties on properties that the business is not located on are the problem. So if the business is located on that property, we don’t have a problem. It’s the people that rent or give some of their land to advertise for a business that maybe is in a different town.”
Other directors argued that the signs are informative for tourists passing through the area.
The board voted 7 to 6 in favour of to approve the permit.
Kimberley mayor Don McCormick voted in favor of granting the permit., but feels the RDEK needs to look into establishing a policy to look into illegal highway signage.
His preference is “to take a look at what bylaws (are) in place. Within the RDEK there is no separate sign bylaw, the sign rules are imbedded in the zoning. Maybe we need to take a look at how we’re doing that.”
McCormick says last week’s discussion wasn’t the first time the board has talked at length about signage.
“When it comes to signs and sign bylaws there is always discussion on it, and it’s always heated. You either hate them or you love them, one way or the other. I suspect no matter what decision we make with this, it will be the case. A year or two or three or five from now, we’ll be going through the exact same thing again.”
The motion narrowly passed by a vote of 7-6.
– Rob Gay, Chair-Regional District of East Kootenay
– Don McCormick, Mayor of Kimberley