A new sign that points the way to what downtown Smithers has to offer will be constructed this summer after council gave its approval to a design last Tuesday.
The sign is budgeted at $15,000, with $10,000 coming from the Open for Business Award the town won last year. The other $5,000 comes from a Northern Development Initiative Economic Development base grant.
“The sign is something the merchants have been working on for the last two years,” said Downtown Merchants Association chair Corina Brewer.
“It’s important in that we really wanted to promote the downtown core and really give tourists coming down the highway a reason to want to turn onto Main Street and see all the amazing things that are down off the highway.”
The decision to have the words “experience downtown” was also important to Brewer.
“It’s not just Main Street. There a lot of amazing shops and businesses that are off of Main Street, but they’re down in that downtown core.
“And the events are held downtown, in the summer the buskers are downtown, there are amazing cafes and restaurants downtown. There are so many reasons for you to take that left or right off the highway, and I think that sign represents everybody incredibly well,” said Brewer.
The timber design was created by local artist Facundo Gastiazoro.
“It’s about trying to have a more contemporary view of the theme of the town, which is alpine, using the elements of alpine which would be big wood, rock and timber frame. I tried to do it in the most light way we could,” explained Gastiazoro.
The design had to be “light” according to Gastiazoro especially because of the curved roof that will protect the sign from the elements of northern B.C.
“Not having knee bracing for example… the intention is to have a floating roof.”
Space under the main sign is reserved for promoting events in town. It will also be lit up using electrical infrastructure already in place from the former gas station sign that used to stand at the corner of Main Street and Highway 16.
Bovill Square upgrades
Also receiving approval at last Tuesday’s council meeting was the second phase of Bovill Square.
The upgrades will add seating to the square at a cost of $20,000 to the town, which hopes to offset some of that by selling dedicated memorial plaques at $1,000 each.
A report to council stated that the lack of proper seating was a major complaint of residents for the square built in 2013.
“I think it’s time that we do this. I’m really pleased to see the plan and the layout. I’ve walked around there quite a few times looking at places where people can sit, and I think it’s just the part that’s needed to make this more usable, more viable,” said Coun. Gladys Atrill at the meeting.
Centre arm rests are being included on the seven benches to avoid having people sleep on them.
The economic development reserve money will also buy three picnic tables to put in late this spring.