British Columbia

Prince George could be getting Punjabi street signs

Officials at both of the city's Sikh temples want bilingual signs on streets in their neighbourhoods, and city council supports the idea.

Officials at two Sikh temples have asked city council for bilingual signs in their areas

Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association in Prince George, holds an example of a street sign that would include English and Punjabi. (CBC/Audrey McKinnon)

Prince George city council is moving forward with two requests to add Punjabi to some signs in the city. The requests came from officials at Guru Gobind Singh Temple and Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple who say their buildings can be tricky to find, especially for native Punjabi speakers.

"We think we need signs in Punjabi and English because we've got community living here, lots of people (who do) not read English," said Pal Bassi, secretary with the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Society.

If the proposals move forward after city staff reviews the associated costs, signs on Highway 97 North and South, Highway 16 West, Ospika Boulevard, and Davis Road, all in the vicinity of the two temples, would have Punjabi added to the existing English. 

"If (people) go by, they don't know about the Sikh temple, if they see the sign they can come if they need food, a cup of tea, or overnight, we can arrange something," said Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association.

Prince George mayor Lyn Hall supports the idea of multi-lingual signs and said they would be reflective of the growing cultural diversity in Prince George. 

"I see it as a big opportunity ... we just need to look around and see how multicultural we are," Hall said. 

Prince George city staff will report back to council with the cost of adding Punjabi to the streets signs at an upcoming meeting. 

with files from Audrey Mackinnon and Andrew Kurjata


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