Signs and billboards are a common—and often undesired—sight while driving on Highway 97, west of the bridge.
But West Kelowna council and the Hockeyville committee are convinced an electronic community sign at the intersection of Bartley Road and Highway 97 will be more appealing to the public.
On Tuesday, West Kelowna council unanimously voted to put the $25,000 it earned from coming second in the 2012 Hockeyville competition toward the consideration of the installation of an electronic highway sign in the 2013 capital budget deliberations.
The Hockeyville committee brought forward three options of how they wished to see the money spent. They indicated that an electronic highway sign was their top choice.
A second option was to install an addition to the media gondola at Royal LePage Place; a third suggestion was to install a commercial grade wireless Internet system in the arena.
Adam Less, co-chair of West Kelowna’s Hockeyville bid, told council the committee wanted the money to be spent on something that benefits the entire community.
“We learned Hockeyville was really nothing about hockey, it was about community and community spirit,” said Less.
He suggested along with advertising West Kelowna Warriors games and district announcements, the new sign could be used by various nonprofit community groups to showcase their events.
The cost of the electronic sign is estimated to be $125,000, which would force the district to use $100,000 from future expenditure reserves.
“This money is different; it’s different because we earned it,” said Less.
“A lot of people put in a lot of time and effort for no other reason than to have those bragging rights and feel like they all came together for something.”
Coun. Bryden Winsby said he struggled with the sign idea because of the significant cost.
“I like the concept but I’m a little nervous about us having to quadruple our Hockeyville prize to have a sign (installed),” said Winsby.
Winsby said he was also concerned the public might not be receptive to another type of billboard along the highway. He questioned whether the sign was a want or a need.
“I think this is a need and it’s something that would be used far and wide throughout the community,” said Less.
Early recommendations suggest the sign will be six feet high, 15 feet wide and 15 feet above the ground. It will have the ability to display full colour text messaging and video.
Mayor Doug Findlater said the sign will be a highway landmark for drivers, directing them to the arena, council chambers and Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary.
“I see this as a community billboard that brings people together. I think that’s the legacy of Hockeyville: Bringing people together.”