City will soon put forward final draft of sign bylaw

Cranbrook city council took another glance at revisals to the draft sign bylaw Monday, June 10.

City council took another glance at revisals to the draft sign bylaw Monday, June 10.

Discussion on the draft bylaw centred around a few revisions that came after taking in considerations and concerns from businesses.

A motion to ban billboards outright in the city, recommended by city staff, was defeated 4-3.

One concern Mayor Wayne Stetski had was that businesses could potentially have eight signs per lot in the new bylaw. It would just be a matter of going through the process of having all the signs validated, as one sign from each of the eight groupings is allowed.

City staff noted that they could find only  four communities, including Kimberley and Fernie, that have limits on the number of signs a business can have.

Coun. Diana J. Scott said that just because a business can have that many signs doesn’t mean they would want to. Coun. Denise Pallesen echoed that, saying she wouldn’t want eight signs at her business and suspected others wouldn’t either.

“We have to give our businesses some credit,” she said. “They are doing well or at least existing after many years, most of them because of thoughtful and conscientious business decisions.”

Pallesen said everyone involved did a great job on creating the draft bylaw.

Another part of the bylaw limits the speed of animation and flashing that can be used on electronic signs.

Coun. Gerry Warner noted that in terms of flashing electronic signs, the city is not setting a good example with the Western Financial Place sign.

Coun. Bob Whetham agreed in terms of animation on the signs.

“If you’re supposed to be driving, I think you’d want to get the information, at least that would be my way of reading it,” he said.

CAO Wayne Staudt noted that though the city would not have to abide by the bylaw, it most likely would.

Coun. Sharon Cross said she was not happy with how the bylaw failed to tackle making Cranbrook’s main drag a more attractive place.

“The whole time we met with the Chamber of Commerce sign bylaw committee, not once did I hear a vision for what the collective finished product of what the strip would be when the sign bylaw was complete,” Cross said.

“There was no vision of how attractive it was going to be, of how it would potentially attract people to come live, work and play here. It was all about bigger, brighter, flashier. I find that really disappointing and disheartening.”

Coun. Angus Davis said that the business community is important in the community.

“These are the people who get us the jobs that create the wealth for this community, and if we’re going to impose a standard on them that takes away part of their creativity then I think we’re doing the wrong thing,” he said.

“We have to embrace the business community for what it is. It’s a wealth generator, it’s a service generator.”

Staff will now prepare the final draft for council to consider.