Billboards on Highway 16 outside Smithers. (Contributed photo)

Billboards are an anachronism

Writer says there is a win-win solution to the desire for Hwy 16 advertising.

Open letter to Minister of Transportation Claire Trevena:

Dear Ms. Trevena,

You would recently have received a letter, penned by Len Vanderstar and signed by other locals of the Bulkley Valley, requesting that the provincial government follow its own regulations and direct that billboards along Highway 16 near Smithers be removed or relocated to locations not closer than the 300-metre limit.

The photos [submitted] show some of the billboards and their proximity to the highway. In the current age of ready access to digital information, drivers who are in need of such would more likely use their cell devices. Billboards are an anachronism.

However, if billboards are perceived to be advantageous to businesses, some local governments are opting for a smaller, less risky way of promoting their product or service, and Castlegar is a fine example of this alternative. At a spacious and safe highway pullout at the entrance to the town, a large billboard with a grid of smaller ads along with a map of the business locations has been erected. Travellers stopping here pose no risk, to themselves or others.

A win-win: businesses get to promote their products or services while drivers and others on the highway remain safe. There is no visual pollution, trees do not have to be removed (sometimes in significant numbers) and the open vista permits drivers and passengers to enjoy the natural, or at least pleasant, landscape.

Dina Hanson


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