Over 3,800 people voted in an on-line poll to determine the look of Nelson’s new welcome signs. Of the four options, two came in neck and neck at the top.
Both bear a strong resemblance to the existing signs, which were created in the late 1960s by Art Waldie and replicated in 2001. But city staff are recommending that the design seen above be adopted by city council when it meets on Tuesday.
The provincial government has provided the city with $350,000 for new wayfinding signs, including replacements for three existing welcome signs, which say “The City of Nelson Welcomes You” on one side and “Your Visit/Nelson’s Pleasure/Please Return” on the other.
Staff say the existing signs are in poor condition and fixing them would be difficult, although not impossible.
The city sought feedback from residents on how they felt about the existing signs, and the overwhelming response was that they are well loved. A design competition launched last July received 30 submissions, which a design review panel shortlisted to seven finalists, who were then invited to submit detailed designs and cost estimates.
Criteria included using local materials, that the designer be local or have a local connection, and that the sign be “rustic, creative, and quirky.”
The final shortlist of four was then put up to a community vote. This was the result:“Luckily, both [leading] signs are relatively similar,” city planning staff wrote in a report to council. “They both pay homage to the Art Waldie sign, have the same message, [and] use local wood products.”
However, staff agree Option A is the preferred design because of its additional features reflecting Nelson’s past, like the support structure based on an aerial mining tramway. It also proposes that the text be milled and painted, similar to the existing sign, whereas Option B proposed aluminum letters.
The final call is up to city council.
Whichever design is picked, city staff say they still need to consult with local First Nations on a land acknowledgement. They have had preliminary discussions with a Sinixt representative. Initial ideas were to include greetings, Nelson’s original Indigenous name, or artwork.