West Kelowna has given first reading to its draft sign bylaw, but councillors agree “intensive public consultation” is still needed to gauge opinions of residents and the business community.
Major changes to the bylaw include simplification and clarification of definitions, references to uses instead of zones and provisions for animated signage for community facilities, fascia signs, sandwich board signs and temporary signs.
According to Mayor Doug Findlater, the biggest issue has to do with sandwich board signs.
“I can tell you from doing monthly business visits—and I’m getting lots of e-mails—the most common complaint is related to sandwich board signs,” said Findlater.
“Businesses want an off-site sandwich board sign, that may direct someone off another street (to their business) about a block away.”
Coun. Duane Ophus said that request has to be balanced with the interests of the general public.
“It’s also a problem that the general citizen doesn’t want (sandwich board signs) and doesn’t like them,” said Ophus.
“We’re going to have to get a little more input in this issue and come up with a reasonable compromise, because it’s not going to be an issue that goes away.”
Coun. Bryden Winsby agreed more consultation is important; however, he admitted it will not likely result in an overall consensus. He said, at this point, he’s not comfortable “bending the rules” to allow hidden businesses to clutter the area with signage.
Using way finding signs was one potential solution suggested by Coun. Gord Milsom.
Such signs could be used to direct people to commercial areas rather than individual businesses.
“That may solve some of the needs expressed by the business community,” said Milsom.
The next steps in the adoption of the new bylaw will be to develop a Public Service Notice Policy and consult with the public. The draft sign bylaw will be made available at districtofwestkelowna.ca and at municipal hall.