Downtown Smithers is not the envy of the Northwest by accident.
Back in the 1970s it took a ton of political will, determination and hard work to transform downtown into the beautiful, unique, Alpine-themed atmosphere residents and visitors alike enjoy today.
It requires continued vision, determination and hard work to maintain.
That work is done with a number of bylaws, one of which is the Town’s controversial Sign Bylaw.
Last week, council denied RBC a variance to the bylaw. The application requested an increase in the permitted area for fascia signs from 4.3 square metres to 9.8 square metres.
Acting Mayor Gladys Atrill believes current and future councils owe it to the original designers to uphold the vision.
She thinks it is important to stick by the regulations because they are there to preserve the ambiance of downtown.
The Interior News agrees.
Atrill knows she is going to get a lot of flack for this latest decision, as council always does when they enforce the Sign Bylaw.
She knows she will get accused of being obstructionist and anti-business.
That is just not fair.
While complying may present challenges for downtown businesses to stick out from the crowd, it can equally be argued preserving the town’s character is good for business.
That character is one of the reasons people want to live here and visit.
Imagine the slippery slope it would create if council were to start making exceptions. Does anyone really want to see Main Street changed significantly?
Smithers has a vibrant downtown scene precisely because past councils had the foresight and nerve to create something different.
So, cut the current council some slack for having the guts to preserve it.