By Spencer Hall, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Rocky Mountain Goat

Mayor and council reviewed five potential designs for Valemount’s new entry sign at their latest council meeting on September 13th.

According to Valemount CAO Eric Depenau, the existing sign is approaching 20 years old and is exhibiting visible rot on both the top and lower portions of the structure.

“When it was initially installed, there were no caps put on the wood pieces that received the greatest amount of rain,” he explained.

Another concern that’s arisen in recent years is the archway obstructing the sightline of drivers attempting to leave the nearby Tim Hortons parking lot.

All potential designs would be made with prefabricated aluminum and steel, mitigating the risk of rot. Each design would also use the existing concrete foundation in order to remain within the project’s $200K budget. 

Mayor Torgerson said he personally likes option three, but believes it needs to be scaled back slightly to improve traffic sightlines.

“The reason I like number three is it’s a pillar, it matches our magnificent mountain ranges. I like the little roof on top. It sort of says welcome home and as a resort municipality it highlights that there’s always going to be a roof over your head when you’re in Valemount,” Torgerson said, adding that the roof could also act as a catchment for rain to water the plants below.

Councillor Pearson echoed Blanchette’s concerns regarding traffic sightlines, pointing out the village recently started a traffic committee to begin studying how to improve the safety of the intersection. He suggested adjusting the designs so the signage is two feet above the planter.

Pearson, Mulyk, and MacLean voiced their support for option five and each said they prefer the gateway design.

“I probably wouldn’t go as far as to call it iconic but it is very visually captured in a lot of pictures. I don’t think the pylons have the same grab versus the visual of the gateway,” Pearson said.

Blanchette said she preferred option three, but would rather the sign be on the south side of the road by the A&W instead of both sides of the road to mitigate sightline concerns. 

Ultimately, council decided to send the design back to staff to work with the proponent to adjust option five to increase visibility and improve traffic sightlines.