A road sign. (Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror)

Gord Turner: Can you see the signs? No? Good

The bulk of signage throughout a community often seems in excess of what’s needed.

Signs — and more signs

Most towns and cities have a lot of signs. Signs designate house numbers, indicate street names, warn us to stop or yield, and point out how fast we can travel. These signs I can accept, but the bulk of signage throughout a community often seems in excess of what’s needed.

I recognize that businesses need name-signs often with specific colours to help visitors and others locate them. Some of these are wooden, some plastic, and some neon. A few places have signs where the owners can change the lettering daily or weekly to highlight a particular feature.

The best signs of those that can change are the electronic imaging signs such as at Toyota or at A&W. These signs catch the attention of motorists more easily than standard signs. The electronic informational sign at the Recreation Complex is of the same style.

What I’m most happy about is that Castlegar is a community without huge billboards against the skyline and cluttering up the streets. This lack of billboard obtrusions into our lives is clearly due to Castlegar City Council not wishing to have such gigantic signage. Our City leaders have not authorized billboard use within the City.

I’m delighted we haven’t taken our example from the town of Enderby. North of Enderby, a lengthy conglomeration of billboard signs is the first indication of the town. These advertise business after business in the community ahead. The signage stretches for nearly a kilometer and is simply an eyesore against green fields.

The City of Creston has the same proliferation of billboard signs along Highway 3 as drivers approach the community from the east. These are set in a field along the south side of this major thoroughfare, and they basically desecrate the landscape and mar its beauty.

There are indeed such monstrosities near Castlegar, a few spotted along the highway toward Trail and several just above Castlegar on the way to Christina Lake. So far these have been kept to a minimum, and thus, probably do their advertising job well because they stand out. The string of signs one after the other at Enderby and Creston are a blur to the passing motorist.

The City of Castlegar is also strict in regard to smaller signs attached to telephone poles around the city. Council has indicated that businesses can’t use this method to advertise their products. Occasionally, real estate signs end up in those locations, but most are staked at corners and in front of properties. Too many real estate signs, too, can create ugliness in neighbourhoods.

That’s also true of certain traffic signs in specific locations. Near Kinnaird Elementary School, for example, on a 200-meter stretch of street, there are six “no parking” signs. I guess they’re there to keep parents from parking too long while dropping off or picking up their kids. But I can’t believe the homeowners in that area are happy about so many metal posts and tin signs.

Some signs are simply too big for what they’re meant for. The “Adopt a Road” signs are an example. I realize the City has to get a lot of information along with the volunteer’s name onto the sign, but a smaller sign with smaller lettering would do the trick.

Temporary signs such as those for garage sales do end up on telephone poles in choice locations. The City turns a blind eye to “temporary” signs such as these — even if they’re poorly done and ugly. However, garage-sale residents need to take down the signs immediately after the sale is finished. A garage sale is not over until the signage itself is taken up.

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