- BC Games
Council seeks to rid Bowen Island of excessive signs
Bowen Island Municipality (BIM) is looking for a sign.
In a bid to make the island more accessible to visitors, councillors have ordered a review of all the redundant and unfriendly signage dotting the streets.
Coun. Andrew Stone presented a slideshow to council on Sept. 23 showcasing some of the unnecessary road signs strewn about the island.
One picture featured a speed bump, a painted road and multiple warning signs to motorists indicating a crosswalk up ahead.
"The implied effect of that is that the person who is approaching that sign is too stupid to know that there's a crosswalk there," he told council.
In addition to redundancy, Stone noted another problem was the lack of standardization of signs on Bowen Island that he said "just leads to visual garbage."
Acting Mayor Tim Rhodes said there are also problems with a lack of signage at certain points on the island.
"There really is nothing that helps a new visitor or a tourist on the island (after getting off the ferry)," he told council.
"While we have a proliferation of signs, there are also signs we should have on Bowen."
Stone said he agreed with Rhodes.
"Signage — if it's done correctly — that's encouraging and helpful will hopefully be good for the economy as opposed to telling people what they should or shouldn't do," he said.
BIM's development and operations manager Keith Walhstrom told council much of the issue comes down to regulations and enforcement.
"A lot of signs are there because of people not respecting what should be an obvious choice. People should not park next to a concrete barrier, but they do," he said.
"If you don't have (regulatory signs,) then you can't enforce."
Stone suggested one solution may be to get rid of some signs warning against illegal car maneuvers, such as U-turns, and instead impose random law enforcement checks on problem roads.
Although councillors briefly spoke about hiring a firm to conduct a sign audit, it will be up to the BIM's advisory design panel and advisory planning committee to review the signage situation first.
Meanwhile, one ongoing project bound to catch the attention of both residents and visitors is a seven-metre horizontal sign welcoming people to the community as they get off the ferry at Snug Cove.
A group of residents has been working for about three years to get the sign installed, but have faced repeated delays.
BIM's chief administrative officer Kathy Lalonde apologized at the Sept. 23rd council meeting for the hold-up and said she and Wahlstrom would meet with the residents to discuss a preferred location for installation.
The sign, which features paintings of mountains and sea life, declares "Bowen Island Welcomes You!"
Council is also making efforts to welcome people to the island by approving in principal the construction of a memorial gazebo on the municipal dock honouring Dick Van Aelst, who passed away last year. The long-time banker sat on the board of First Credit Union's Bowen Island partnership branch when it first opened in 2007.
The gazebo would also serve as a welcome kiosk for tourists following the closure the visitor centre next to the library earlier this year.
First Credit Union is providing $5,000 in funding for the project.