August 17, 2015 - 8:00 PM
SPALLUMCHEEN - A roadside attraction known for its wild and wacky signs has been told to tone it down.
The Log Barn, located off Highway 97A just north of Armstrong, was ordered by the Township of Spallumcheen to remove close to 20 property signs in May 2015, and recently lost a bid to reinstall a portion of them.
Spallumcheen Coun. Christine Fraser says the number of signs on the property had grown well over the legal limit in the past few years, and was posing a safety hazard for motorists.
“The Ministry of Transportation has concerns that when there’s that much signage in a condensed area, it distracts drivers on the highway,” Fraser says. “We’ve had a lot of near misses there.”
The Log Barn says the loss of its signs — including its inflatable 'Pie Man' — has resulted in a 40 per cent decrease in revenue, and asked the township for permission to reinstall several signs, including ‘Dave’s Goat Walk’ and ‘Fruit’ signage, among others.
Council agreed to allow a neon, non-flashing ‘Open’ sign and a Canadian Flag — two more than the allowable limit of two signs — but denied the Log Barn’s request for the others.
“Obviously, I don’t want them to lose a bunch of business,” Fraser says. “But at the end of the day, it’s still about the safety on the highway. For me, that’s what’s important. I feel we have a responsibility to make sure people are safe.”
Log Barn owner Kimberley Stuart says the outcome was "disappointing" and the impact on her business ‘"devastating."
“We’ve been doing this for a number of years. There’s a reason we have these signs up,” Stuart says. “When you’re so rural and way out in the country, you need some way of being noticed.”
Without the signs, Stuart says people won’t know what they sell, and will be less likely to stop.
“We just got 40 cases of peaches delivered. If we don’t have (fruit) signs, how can we sell them?” she says. “We’re really left hanging at the end of the day.”
She agrees road safety is important, and says the Log Barn has been working with the Ministry of Transportation to have a turn lane installed to improve access and safety.
“It is absolutely our goal in the not too distant future to get a turning lane,” Stuart says. “Our goal is to get far enough ahead to make that investment, but we have to sell a lot of cobs of corn and baskets of raspberries to pay for it.”
The Log Barn still has a number of billboard signs advertising the business, and along with an upcoming goat walk expansion at the property, Stuart hopes it will be enough to keep customers coming through the doors.
“If I was less creative, we’d have to shut the doors,” she says.
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