New signs for the times

$280,000 Ladysmith project designed to help downtown business and get people off the highway



The large “Welcome to Ladysmith” sign at the north end of town in Bob Stuart Park?

It will be replaced soon as part of a $280,000 signage overhaul designed to make Ladysmith look more welcoming.

The money — most of it expected to come from a government grant — is being targeted to build 13 new signs, including a pair of signature welcoming signs at either end of town.

The plan began as a discussion on how to regulate the use of sandwich boards downtown that evolved into something larger.

“How can we provide opportunities for people to learn about our great downtown?” Ladysmith development services manager Felicity Adams said. “We want to get people off the highway and into downtown. Then, once they are into downtown, we want to entice them by showing them what is available.”

A committee including representatives from the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association and Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce went to work with $25,000 consultant Golden Associates.

The resulting signature pieces are a pair of large welcome signs on either end of town. They will mirror the existing Bob Stuart Park sign in size and scope. Initial designs show a more modern look and a script-style font, however staff state the look may be revised.

The draft new Bob Stuart sign is blue on white. The south end sign (opposite the south Davis Road turnoff) will have a blue-and-green colour scheme that will be echoed in a series of smaller “heritage downtown” directional signs aimed at drawing people in off the highway.

New will be a handful of street-sign-style directional signs along First Avenue, designed to point out businesses off the main drag and eliminate the need for sandwich boards.These will be complemented by a kiosk sign featuring a map and a business directory. Businesses are expected to have to pay a fee to be included in these signs.

Also part of the plan are tourism info signs and a new 49th Parallel photo-op marker, likely at the Aggie Hall plaza.

According to Adams, the design was pretty much set through the committee and feedback members gathered out in the community.

“There was quite a bit of feedback,” she said. “The committee did spread their wings and go out a little bit, hopefully people will like what they see.”

Council has already approved the project in principle. The town hopes a $230,000 gas tax grant will pay for the bulk of the work. Results of the grant application will likely be known in late summer.

Timing of installation will be subject to when council decides to make money available.