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Voting open on Nelson’s new welcome signs

It’s your turn to weigh in on what Nelson’s new welcome signs will look like. The city has posted four finalists on its web page, along with an electronic ballot where you can pick your favourite.

Before launching the design contest, the city solicited feedback from residents on what they wanted to see in a new sign. The overwhelming sentiment was that people liked the existing signs, originally designed in 1968 and replicated in 2001. However, the city says they have been deteriorating and need to be fixed or replaced.

The city received about 30 submissions, which a design review panel whittled down to seven semi-finalists. Those applicants were asked to provide more detailed designs, which were in turn shortlisted to the final four that the community is now voting on.

In addition to conceptual sketches of each proposal, the artists have provided statements about their ideas. All four finalists pay homage to the original signs to greater or lesser degrees.

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“We heard loud and clear that people like the original signs and what aspects they like: natural materials, they like it to be quirky,” says the city’s development services manager, Sebastian Arcand.

“They didn’t want something too modern. The successful designs really looked at what the public feedback was and worked within the realms of what people want to see. That’s why the four options are similar in some way with a modern spin to the design of the current sign.”

You don’t have to live in Nelson proper to express your opinion, but a question on the poll asks whether you are a city resident, a rural Nelson resident, live elsewhere in the Kootenays, or outside of the Kootenays.

If you don’t like any of the options, you can choose “none of the above,” but in that case, you’re asked to explain.

“We want people to make sure they tell us why they don’t like it,” Arcand says. “If that is the predominant vote that we receive, at least we have something to work with.”

The city has set a two-week time limit for the vote, which might be extended, but so far Arcand says the poll is seeing “quite a bit of activity.”

The results will be presented to city council to make the final decision. Afterward, the project will proceed to detailed design work. Although not shown in the images online, the city is talking to local Indigenous groups about wording to include on the signs.

Photo: Greg Nesteroff/Vista Radio
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