New welcome signs will not be used for advertising, says mayor

Edmonton's Mayor is against putting advertising front and centre on "Welcome to Edmonton" signs, agreeing with a reporter that tackiness isn't the appropriate way to greet people driving into the city.

Mayor pans one payment option for new welcome signs

Here's the "City of Champions" sign as it stands today. What would you like to see the look like instead? (Scott Stevenson/CBC)

Edmonton's Mayor is against putting advertising front and centre on "Welcome to Edmonton" signs, agreeing with a reporter that tackiness isn't the appropriate way to greet people driving into the city. 

“Not on my watch,” said Iveson, “I don’t think that the entrance sign to as prosperous and dynamic a city as this needs to be reduced by having advertising on it or any particular sponsorship attached to it.”

Allowing advertising on the signs is one option city staff recommended in a report released on Thursday as a way to pay for replacing the seven signs stationed around the city. 

Iveson said he supports the idea to crowdsource some of the funding, similar to the “Light the Bridge” campaign which raised $2.5 million to purchase and install 50,000 LED lights on the High Level Bridge.

The city could replace the signs within a year or two, but Iveson said he thinks a brand should be developed before the “City of Champions” signs are taken down.

“I think we need to go through a process to make sure that they reflect the brand that’s emerging for the city, and that’s still very much a work in process,” he said.

Citizens could get to pick new designs

Coun. Michael Oshry agrees, but said the seven “City of Champions” signs stationed around the city are tired and outdated, and should be replaced as quickly as possible.

“You just need something that's modern and interesting and sort of shows the city on the trajectory we're on now, which is a sort of an exciting, growing place to live,” he said.

Councillors will consider allowing citizens to design the signs with an open competition.

Borden Park (Images supplied by City of Edmonton)
The city held a similar design competition for the Borden Park Pavilion, where they received 139 submissions.

Depending on whether the city approaches architects or allows anyone to submit a design, the cost of finding a design could be anywhere between $5,000 and $90,000 dollars.

The cost of the signs themselves is yet to be determined, but Oshry said the city should set a budget before it proceeds any further.

"They don't have to be extravagant, they don't have to be expensive and they don't have to be over the top artsy. I don't look at this as art, I look at this as signage and branding,” he said.

The signs are structurally sound, and do not need to be replaced, according to city staff.

Councillors will debate options for the new signs on Monday.

What do you think the new signs should look like? Send us your drawings, photoshops, gifs, or whatever else you can think of to WebEdmonton@CBC.ca.


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