The welcome sign at Marine Drive and Bergstrom Street is among several that the City of White Rock is planning to replace – as soon as a design is decided on.

The welcome sign at Marine Drive and Bergstrom Street is among several that the City of White Rock is planning to replace – as soon as a design is decided on.

City mulls welcome design options

Signage delineating borders referred to public art committee

Where does Surrey end and White Rock begin?

The City of White Rock would like to leave no doubt with a new series of gateway signs to replace aged ‘Welcome to White Rock B.C.’ signs that are inconsistent with the ‘City by the Sea’ branding adopted in 2011.

But first, the city has to decide what these signs should look like.

While several options were presented to council in a staff report July 11, council ultimately approved a motion from Coun. Lynne Sinclair to refer the matter to the city’s public art committee.

Judging aesthetics of sign options was beyond the expertise of council, Sinclair suggested.

“I don’t know if it’s a good idea to have council members discuss this,” she told acting planning director Bob Ambardar, who presented the report on behalf of engineering director Greg St. Louis.

Staff advocate vertical signage similar to the new signs – designed by the city’s communications department – that were placed in public parks earlier this year.

Coun. Megan Knight said she favoured that blue and grey stone-faced option, while Sinclair favoured another more lateral version that places White Rock in channelled letters on top of a concrete base.

“Although I do worry that the letters will be picked off,” she added.

Coun. Helen Fathers commented that the existing welcome sign on upper Johnston Road looks like a “tombstone.”

That sign is not part of the current signing initiative, however, as it is slated for replacement as part of a later Johnston Road revitalization project.

The 2016 budget has currently allocated $130,000 for new signage, which is proposed for Marine Drive at Stayte Road and Bergstrom Road, and also at the eastern and western extremities of North Bluff.

This raised another thorny issue as – according to Ambardar – there is not sufficient room for the planned style of signage at North Bluff at the intersections with Stayte and Bergstrom, due to fences built right out to property lines and existing stands of trees.

Staff were suggesting that gateway signs could be established a block in, at each end of North Bluff, at the intersections with Stevens Street and Chestnut Street.

“I wouldn’t want to give to give up two blocks to Surrey,” Mayor Wayne Baldwin said.

“I don’t see any point in pushing ahead with this and giving up the two blocks. We’ve managed to muddle along since 1957.”

While city CAO Dan Bottrill said he understood council’s wish was that signage would be expedited “as soon as possible,”  the timeline for the public art committee to report back was suggested by Baldwin as “by the end of September.”


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