49th Parallel Grocery gets the go-ahead for new sign

Ladysmith council approved a signage development variance permit Feb. 16.

The owners of 49th Parallel Grocery in Ladysmith hope to build a large new sign that would welcome people to the community and to the shopping square.

And they’re now one step closer, after Ladysmith council approved a signage development variance permit Feb. 16.

Har-Way Holdings (49th Parallel Grocery) has applied to build a free-standing sign at the northeast corner of their property at First Avenue and Symonds Street. A variance is required because the sign is larger than the permitted size and is back-lit.

The 49th Parallel Grocery property is designated as “downtown core” in the Town’s Official Community Plan. The downtown core designation permits most types of signs, including free-standing signs, but limits the dimensions, materials and illumination.

The proposed free-standing sign has a display area of five square metres, which is greater than the permitted size of 2.9 square metres.

As well, the proposed sign is back-lit with LED lighting, which is not permitted in Ladysmith’s downtown as per the sign and canopy bylaw. There are pre-existing back-lit signs in the downtown specified area (Big O Tire) and outside the downtown specified area (Save-on-Gas and Tim Hortons), but adjacent to the subject property, according to Felicity Adams, the Town’s director of development services.

The sign is proposed to have a wood frame and matching peak to soften the look of the sign and match the tower features of the building. The sign would have interchangeable panels for future use and future development; a “Welcome to Ladysmith” message and a read-o-graph to highlight special events.

Coun. Joe Friesenhan had no problem with the proposed size and illumination, but he wondered if the sign would create confusion at the roundabout with drivers trying to read about the events.

“It would be a static display, not scrolling,” 49th Parallel Grocery president Peter Richmond told council. “Being the entrance to the community, we thought it would be helpful.”