VERNON - They’re supposed to be inviting, but the signs that welcome travellers into Vernon are looking a little worse for wear and no one is sure exaclty who is reponsible for the upkeep of those signs.
Installed at each of the three main gateways to the city the 'Welcome to Greater Vernon' signs greet travellers on Highway 6 and at both ends of the city on Highway 97.
“They’re very poorly constructed and falling apart,” Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund says.
The signs were constructed in 2008 through the Greater Vernon Services Economic Development, a function of the North Okanagan Regional District which was repealed a year later in 2009. The signs represent the cumulative entity that is Greater Vernon, including the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, and Areas B and C.
When public inquiries starting coming to the regional district about the deteriorating condition of the signs, no one knew which jurisdiction was responsible for maintaining them.
“Since I’ve been on council, what I’ve discovered is no one wants to look after the signs,” Mund says.
But it looks like the City of Vernon has an interest in changing that. Mund will be reaching out to other jurisdictions for input and will have staff look into the cost of repairing the signs.
“I don’t think it’s put them up, tear them down, just because somebody’s decided 'well, we’re not going to participate in this anymore,'” Mund says. “I still think the City of Vernon should take the lead and say, 'you know what, these are important, let’s keep them.'”
He says the signs themselves are in decent shape, and it’s the trim that’s mostly falling apart. If the city was to take over responsibility for the signs, Mund says it’s possible 'Welcome to Greater Vernon' would be adjusted to 'Welcome to Vernon.'
Other members of council also floated the idea of getting creative with the signs, like having them say 'We’ve been waiting for you' or something else that would be more original than simply 'Welcome to Vernon.'
“It may be really good to have some thing other than 'Welcome to Vernon' which every community does, and people basically just drive by and ignore (it.) Maybe we could have something more interesting on the sign,” Coun. Catherine Lord says.
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