Concerns over sign corridor at Esterhazy council

·4 min read

At the regular Esterhazy town council meeting on Wednesday, more concerns regarding the West sign corridor were brought to the council’s attention. At an earlier council meeting a motion was passed to go forward with 4x8 signs for the West sign corridor—it was previously only 8x8 signs on the corridor.

Without having a firm plan in place for the sign corridor since 2017, the council wanted to ensure as many signs as possible fit on the corridor. There are over 20 names on the sign corridor waiting list and the best way to give more businesses an opportunity was to move from 8x8 signs to 4x8 signs.

No business with a sign up on the West sign corridor is under contract, but the town plans to provide them with the opportunity to update their signs to fit the new mandated size. One of the previous sign owners isn’t happy with the decision because they’ve kept their sign up to date and put money into it and doesn’t think it’s fair they’ll have to change their sign.

Both councillors Tenille Flick and Vern Petracek understood the frustration of the sign owner because they don’t believe it’s fair to force someone to change their sign when they’ve been keeping it up to date and following the previous rules.

“We made a decision and we have to stick to our guns,” said Councillor Randy Bot.

“If we don’t change the signs then we won’t have sign space for the new plan,” said Councillor Maggie Rowland. “We can’t change the plan for one sign.”

Economic Development Director Tammy MacDonald says that nothing has been approved by the town since 2017 so any work done was never brought to the town’s attention. MacDonald felt that all the signs should be the same size and abide by the same rules and with this plan the town will own the signs which will allow them to enforce their own policies.

“The person never approached the town about renewing their contract,” said Mayor Grant Forster. “To make it work for everyone else we have to hold firm on this.”

The council will not be making any changes to the sign corridor motion already passed and will be moving forward with their plan.

“We’re still going forward with it,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “What happened was before 2017 there were one-year contracts put in place for the sign corridor. The town at that time gave a bunch of specifications for those signs. Some of the people—there were eight spots—abided by it and some didn’t, but this is one of the people who abided by it well.

“They spent money and made sure the sign was there, but nothing was ever followed through with us after in terms of renewing the contract. Now that we’re changing it, this business is upset with the changes. This new plan has been worked on since 2017 to make these changes so we can have a nice sign corridor with more signs.”

Sign corridor tender awarded

The council passed a motion to award Timco Construction the tender for the West sign corridor. Timco Construction will be constructing and installing the posts for the signs. The construction and installation work will cost $625 per unit with up to 32 units to be installed for a total of $20,000 plus any applicable tax.

The West sign corridor was budgeted in the 2020 budget and the council agrees in the coming years they’ll make the cost back with the new larger sign corridor and consistent contracts between the town and businesses with signs.

Arena kitchen to remain closed

With no response to previous tenders put out for the Dana Antal Arena kitchen, the council has decided to look into setting up a vending machine.

The council looked at two options prior to the vending machine decision, to hire someone to run the kitchen or ask for volunteers. Given the circumstances with Covid-19 this year, council believes neither option seems plausible.

The addition of a vending machine offers food with low maintenance and no health risks for those serving or buying food. The council says this is a short-term solution and will continue to look for volunteers in the future.

“The vending machine is a good Covid-19 specific solution for the time being,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We’re going to look at the information necessary to put a vending machine in and talk to the contractor out of Yorkton to see if we can get a one-year deal with them or up until March or April of next year. There’s nobody looking for this type of work right now and I think we’re better off to just have vending machines so there’s availability for something in the building.”

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Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator