After several discussions, Campbell River city council is moving forward with a plan to install billboard signs to show support for local industries.
On June 14, Campbell River city council adopted a resolution — in a 5-1 vote, with Coun. Claire Moglove voting opposed — to purchase billboards beside existing city entrance signs to herald three industries: aquaculture, forestry and tourism.
But as these sites are located on provincial highway right-of-ways, this decision hinged on approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. This was not granted, as ministry policy prohibits signs containing political messages on public highways and recommends keeping signage to a minimum. An alternate plan for mobile signs was also not supported.
As a result, city council considered a report by staff on July 12 to determine new locations for the signs on municipal property in Campbell River. Two locations were selected where signs will be installed, near The Norm Wood Environmental Centre and at the corner of Dogwood Street and Hilchey Road, in a 5-1 vote, with Coun. Moglove again opposed.
Each 16×8’ billboard is estimated to cost $3,600, per Peter Wipper, the ctiy’s director of planning.
The motion also included direction for city staff to promote these industries through social media.
Despite the original resolution, tourism may not be included in the campaign because of opposition from the city’s Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC). Paul Dowler, TAC chair, in a June 21 letter to council, said these signs could be detrimental to the local tourism industry by alienating visitors not supportive of the aquaculture and forestry industries.
Support for these industries should be directed to provincial and federal decision makers, not Campbell River residents and visitors, he added.
The city will consult representatives from each industry regarding their inclusion in the campaign and will consider its messaging at the communications and economic development level, explained Deborah Sargent, city manager. There have been discussions on incorporating the city’s current motto, “Enriched by Land and Sea,” she added.