Smithers and the broader Bulkley Valley promote themselves as rich in natural beauty. It seems ironic, then, to welcome visitors with rows of plywood billboards along the highway. Though these signs are on private property and within the boundaries of the Regional District, they all promote Smithers businesses; hence, Smithers could take the lead in finding a solution that meets both the criteria of celebrating that natural beauty and also supporting local business operators.
Castlegar, in the West Kootenays, has found such a solution: instead of a string of billboards, often impossible to see at highway speeds anyway, one large board greets travellers in a safe, convenient pull-out. Businesses are represented on this board, with the same style of advertisements as one finds on the individual boards, and a map of the downtown is included.
By good fortune, Smithers has an ideal location, for west-bound traffic, near the bridge, with a spacious, paved area and information kiosk. This is the perfect place for visitors to stop, take a break in a secure spot, look at the services available and find them on the map.
It would also allow all the rest of us to enjoy views of the fields and mountains, as we make our frequent trips ‘to town.’
Daryl and Dina Hanson
Evi and Mel Coulson
Cor and Judy van der Meulen