Sign

This artist rendering shows the possible look of a new sign along Highway 97 in West Kelowna. City council voted unanimously Tuesday to consider approving the sign, as a way of promoting community messages and drawing more attention to Royal LePage Place arena.

The signs are looking good for a new electronic billboard to be owned by the City of West Kelowna.

Council voted unanimously Tuesday to have staff prepare a report on the possibility of erecting a new Highway 97 sign that would promote Royal LePage Place arena events and display community messages.

"It's a good initiative," said Coun. Jayson Zilkie. "There would be a hundred different uses for the sign."

"I think this is a good idea," agreed Coun. Doug Findlater.

The proposal for a 24' sign at the corner of Highway 97 and Bartley Road came from Chris Laurie, owner of the West Kelowna Warriors hockey team, the arena's main tenant. It's common for arenas to have electronic signage on nearby roads, he said, and it would help the team draw more fans.

Preliminary estimates are the sign might cost about $75,000, and Laurie said the hockey team was prepared to help the city pay for it, pending further discussion.

There are dozens of billboards along the Highway 97 corridor on the Westside, most of which are on Westbank First Nation lands.

The billboards sometimes draw public criticism for being garish and unsightly, several city councillors acknowledged.

"There is an element in the community that's very, very strongly against any kind of billboard-type presentation along the highway and consider it a form of visual pollution," said Coun. Carol Zanon.

But that sheer proliferation of highway signs might help mute public criticism of the city going ahead and erecting a new electronic message board of its own, Coun. Rick De Jong said.

"Quite frankly," he said, "there's so many signs on the highway already, what's one more? And this one would have a huge benefit for the citizens of West Kelowna."