Everyone wants to get to the same destination soon: a set of great Trans-Canada Highway tourist signs that make passing motorists aware of our heritage downtown, convincing a handsome percentage to take an unplanned detour into Revelstoke.
But getting to this destination is proving to be a long journey, stretching the patience of some members of the City of Revelstoke’s enhancement committee.
At their regular meeting on Nov. 5, the committee reviewed two sketch-up proposals. One was a simple series showing an image and a corresponding number, letting tourists know about the many restaurants, cafes and hotels in town. Another paired heritage photos of people participating in outdoor activities with pithy, humorous captions.
City economic development coordinator Alan Mason said the two series were preliminary sketches prepared by local artist Rob Buchanan at the request of a sign-design sub-committee.
When inevitable design disagreements started to percolate at the committee table, Mason put forward a truism of sign design. “Everyone has a different opinion on what a good sign is,” he told the 10 members of the committee present.
Currently, the City of Revelstoke controls seven highway signs, including billboards and other brick and metal highway displays. The idea is to rejuvenate these signs.
The committee, which has met on the sign issue for months, explored creating four winter signs for this season that would be put on BC Hydro and City of Revelstoke Railway Museum billboards that aren’t used in the winter. But they balked at the $3,000-a-piece price tag, opting to instead pursue longer-term sign plans.
PHOTO: This billboard mock-up was one of a series featuring heritage photos with added captions mentioning tourist amenities. This series is no longer being considered by the city’s enhancement committee. City of Revelstoke image
In discussion, the bureaucratic nature of the challenge emerged; several organizations have a significant stake in the project, making unilateral action difficult for any one.
Stakeholders include the city’s enhancement committee, the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce, the Revelstoke Accommodation Association and the City of Revelstoke, amongst others. Funding for the signs will likely be combined from the above organizations’ budgets; although those details haven’t been settled.
As the discussion focused on design considerations – including the idea of another re-branding exercise for Revelstoke – committee members felt broader input was needed.
The idea of hiring a consultant to do the branding and signs was also raised.
Committee member Steven Hui said the design needed to focus on the passing tourists we’re likely to attract, instead of the ones we’d like to attract.
“We need more than just this committee to decide where we’re going,” said city councillor Chris Johnston, who pushed for a long-term sign plan, with a budget and funding. “You look at Tim Hortons or McDonald’s – they don’t keep [a sign] up for more than a few months.”
Committee chairperson Jason Roe agreed that part of the issue was lack of a long-term plan in the past, leading to dated signs now. “How do we make it stay fresh?” he asked.
The committee wondered if the signs should tie in with in-town signage and Revelstoke’s overall branding. Others wanted to scale back and get four signs up this season, then possibly explore longer-term plans.
PHOTO: The City of Revelstoke’s enhancement committee meets on Nov. 5. Clockwise from far right: Jason Roe, Randy Driediger, Toni Johnston, Chris Johnston, Chris Selvig, Linda Nixon, Steven Hui, Joe Verbalis, Malcolm Bott, Alan Mason and recording secretary Margaret Pacaud. Photo by Aaron Orlando
Economic development director Alan Mason said a budget, costs and sign locations will be needed. “What council will want to see is a really well-designed package,” he said.
In the end, the committee opted to open a discussion with other tourism signage stakeholders to ensure everyone is working together. They also planned to get options for the seven city-owned signs together within a month.
PHOTO: Another concept is the toque billboard – the idea is to stick actual toques to the billboard, then spray them with a sealant to prevent weathering. City of Revelstoke image
This story is part of an ongoing, intermittent series exploring efforts to upgrade the city’s highway tourist signs.
The two complete billboard concept series are embedded in two PDFs here:
ABOVE: This conceptual highway billboard plan was discussed at the City of Revelstoke enhancement committee’s Nov. 5 meeting. It is a sketch mock-up of a Trans-Canada highway billboard designed to promote Revelstoke.
ABOVE: This conceptual highway billboard plan was discussed at the City of Revelstoke enhancement committee’s Nov. 5 meeting. This heritage series was an early proposal, and has since fallen out of favour with the committee. *** Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a third image and the two attached PDFs.