Several Port Alberni artists have submitted designs to the city for a new welcome sign.
Last fall, the City of Port Alberni issued a call for all artists to submit their ideas to the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce for a new “Welcome to Port Alberni” sign.
Chamber CEO Bill Collette presented six concepts to Port Alberni City Council on Monday, February 8. Overall, council was impressed with a design by Beaver Creek resident and artist Susan Roth.
Roth’s proposal is a “Welcome to Port Alberni” metal sign with depth, rather than a flat design. The proposal includes images of a forest and a bear and is made of powder-coated aluminum. His proposed sign stands about 15 feet tall. She worked with Len Ronkainen of Nanaimo Sheet Metal to come up with cost and engineering estimates, at just under $10,000.
Collette pointed out Monday that there will most likely be additional costs for installing the sign.
“All these [proposed] panels would have similar additional costs for them,” he added.
The city allocated $25,000 in its 2020 budget for the design and construction of a welcome sign. To date, approximately $5,700 has been spent.
In a later interview, Roth said his design was inspired by the natural landscape of Port Alberni.
“When I thought of Port Alberni, I thought of trees – big, beautiful trees,” she explained. “And the bears – people come from all over the world just to see our black bears.”
She said she chose powder-coated metal over a traditional wooden sign because of its versatility and ease of maintenance.
“Wood is so difficult to maintain,” she explained. “And aluminum is very strong. It is also recyclable.
Roth said she did not expect payment for her design, adding that she was grateful to the city for being able to purchase drinking water outside the city limits. She is also open to making changes to her design.
Mayor Sharie Minions said Roth’s sign was her favorite of the proposals.
“I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s somewhat different from a regular sign. It stands out for me. I think it’s something we could carry throughout the community.
Councilman Cindy Solda expressed concern that the metal of the structure will become tarnished or rusty over time, but the Minions stressed that city staff will look into maintenance before the city moves forward. with a panel.
“All of these signs are going to require maintenance,” Minions said.
The concept of a new welcome sign to Port Alberni has been controversial. Currently, a “Welcome to Alberni Valley” sign is posted on the side of Highway 4 near the town entrance. However, this sign is actually located on land in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. It was installed in the mid-2000s, a project of the late Cherry Creek Regional Manager, Glenn Wong.
Another “Welcome to Alberni Valley” sign was once located outside the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. This carved wooden panel was first erected at the chamber in the 1980s and remained there until the new visitor center was built in 2011. The city is currently considering having this panel installed somewhere as a work public art, so people can stop and admire it.
The board agreed on Monday to review the proposed designs and return at the next board meeting (February 22) to discuss next steps.
“It will be the look of our community,” Solda said. “We don’t have to make that decision today.”
Collette suggested placing the new sign at the corner of Johnston Road and John Street (near the Walmart entrance).