Seventeen years after their elimination, front licence plates could be making a comeback in Alberta as part of a possible redesign of the well-known wild rose plates.
With the province's licence plate design approaching its 25th year, the government is looking for public feedback on whether to move ahead with a new model.
An online survey, posted at Service Alberta's website until the end of January, asks about the design of the plate and its slogan.
It also asks whether the province should bring back the front licence plate, which was eliminated in 1991 to save money.
The survey question acknowledges people have mixed feelings on the issue of front licence plates.
"Some people say they improve public safety and are an important tool for the police. Others say they interfere with the look and performance of newer cars, and they cost extra money," the questionnaire says.
A government spokesperson said the issue is up for debate.
"Some people have been clamouring for the return of the front plate. Certainly, law enforcement would like to get it back to catch speeders and identify cars in both directions," Eoin Kenny said.
Edmonton police said they'll announce their official position on the matter by the end of January.
Plates ruin aesthetic appeal, opponents affirm
Clark Steele, who has been waging a battle to bring back the front plate ever since it was removed, said he thinks he has a chance at succeeding.
"You can't pick up a licence plate when you're driving down the highway. Nobody can read a licence plate looking backward," he said.
Some in the auto industry aren't so sure, saying a front licence plate would ruin the look of some vehicles.
Shane Bolle, the sales manager at an Edmonton BMW dealership, said the BMW's one-of-a-kind "kidney grill" is a key selling feature of the luxury vehicles.
"You would have to drill holes into the front bumper, which probably a lot of people won't want to do when you're spending that kind of money on a luxury vehicle," Bolle said.
The current licence plate design includes Alberta's official flower, the wild rose, and the slogan "Wild Rose Country."
The new licence plate design must be clear, easily identifiable and must make a statement about the province, the government's survey says.
"When Albertans drive to other places, their licence plate tells a story about Alberta," it says.
"Many people take great pride in their licence plate, and with today's technology it's possible to create a licence plate with more visual impact and more colour."
Alberta eliminated the front licence plate in 1991, not in 1995 as was previously reported.Jan 04, 2008 7:14 AM MT