The City of Fernie has settled on a final design for the sign that will welcome travellers to town along Hwy. 3.
The design as seen pictured in a schematic shared with The Free Press is much the same as the initial concept revealed to the public back in February 2022, when the city awarded a $342,000 contract to Edmonton-based company, Black Flag Projects, to improve signage around town. Some $75,000 of that money will go towards the Hwy. sign alone.
The funds are from $750,000 worth of grants awarded to the city in early 2021 for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and tourism and visitor enhancements at the Visitor Information Centre (VIC), City Hall, and throughout town.
According to city staff, consultation in the design of the new sign has been with the the Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi ‘it Nation to confirm an appropriate Ktunaxa language place-name, placement of traditional language, and characters.
Staff said the design as presented was final.
Besides the addition of Ktunaxa language messages, the design appears to be exactly the same as the preliminary design presented to council in February, with the same materials, sign shape, and placement of text.
Of the design, the iconic ‘Fernie’ logo remains, but gone is the natural wooden trim of the current sign, replaced with a steel cutout featuring a forest background, steel basket features filled with stones, precast concrete, I-beams and a ‘shed style metal batten seam roof’.
According to the Black Flag proposal from February, the materials used are inspired by Fernie and its environment, heritage buildings, industrial roots and demographics.
“We drew inspiration from the distinct history of Fernie and adapted the use of self weathering steel, rubbles, and I-beams that will blend well with the environment,” reads the proposal.
The timeline for when the sign will be installed (and the old sign removed) is not yet known, with city staff telling The Free Press that a site visit with the contractor to create an installation plan is scheduled.
Each item under the contract given to Black Flag Projects must be designed, built and installed before the end of the year to stay within requirements set out by the initial grant allocation. Besides the Hwy. sign, Black Flag Projects will be working on improving signage and way-finding around town. The remainder of the contract work is under final development.
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