Revelstoke City Hall is testing out ways to remove the ‘no’ bike, skateboard and off-leash dog signs it painted on downtown sidewalks just two days ago.
A Times Review reader spotted a city staff member grinding away at one of the ‘no’ signs at the corner of Second Street and Orton Avenue today.
The signs brought on a chorus of disapproval from residents. Gauging from reaction on the street, a majority of residents feel they are ugly, unnecessary and unwelcoming. They were upset there had been no consultation or communication before city staff painted the permanent signs.
So, does this mean they’re going away? Not exactly.
City of Revelstoke chief administrative officer Tim Palmer – the boss of all city staff – said the ‘no’ sign debacle will land on city council’s lap at their Sept. 11 meeting. The removal experiment was being done, “in anticipation of possible options that council may ask of staff,” Palmer said.
If council wants them removed, he wants to know if it’s possible and how much it will cost. He added the removal cost is unknown. “I don’t know that yet,” Palmer said. “I’ll probably have an answer available for that on Tuesday.”
He said the cost to paint the signs was under $1,000.
So, how did the signs get approved in the first place? “That’s a very good question,” Palmer said. “There was no doubt a hiccup in the communications with this and that’s something that I’m investigating internally as to the communications. There was good intentions, but it was not communicated very well with either council, or amongst staff or the community.”
Palmer said signage approval was in a grey area. The Public Works department puts up signs, but anything that is traffic control-related must be approved by the Engineering department. Bylaw enforcement-related signs are initiated by the Planning department. “That’s probably an area that we need to have a little bit more dialogue [about] so that there’s better clarity moving forward.”
Palmer said the decision stood in contrast to other controversial issues that were communicated effectively, giving examples like downtown tree removal, bike lanes and bicycle sharrows. “Those were good examples. Without a doubt things broke down a little bit on this particular decision to put those signs on.”
Palmer said another idea that may be discussed at city council on Sept. 11 is the idea of subjecting city signage to the city’s design review committee. That committee reviews applications for new signage and other development. The committee can suggest changes and alterations or withhold approval.
Recently, council has ordered a review of the design review committee process to make it more business friendly. The review came after complaints, lobbying by the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, and the case of one business owner waiting over eight months for a sign approval.
I asked Palmer if someone was going to get thrown under the bus for the ‘no’ signs: “Collectively, I’ll take the responsibility of ensuring that we communicate better because I feel that as staff that we have failed the community and council on this. And I take that responsibility,” he said.