The proposed new sign to welcome visitors to Fernie at the Visitor Information Centre. (Image courtesy of Black Flag Projects)

The proposed new sign to welcome visitors to Fernie at the Visitor Information Centre. (Image courtesy of Black Flag Projects)

‘Welcome to Fernie’ sign set for a replacement

The preliminary sign design is very different to the one there today

City of Fernie councillors have voted to award a $342,000 contract to an Edmonton-based company for the design and installation of new signage around town, including the replacement of the ‘welcome to Fernie’ sign at the Visitor Information Centre which greets travellers coming from Alberta.

The funds are from grants the city was awarded by the province in early 2021, to the tune of over $750,000 for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and tourism and visitor enhancements at the Visitor Information Centre (VIC), City Hall, and throughout town.

READ MORE: Fernie nets an extra $750,000 in funds for tourism projects

The latest contract to be awarded is for the replacement of the City of Fernie ‘welcome’ monument at the VIC, way-finding and interpretive signage, improved landscaping, covered areas as well as bike parking and infrastructure ‘for a potential future bike-share or rental program’ at the VIC and City Hall.

A previous contract as part of the same suite of improvements was for a redesign of parking and installation of EV charging points at the VIC and City Hall for $160,000.

READ MORE: City of Fernie awards $160k contract for parking upgrades at VIC, City Hall

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The contract awarded on Monday Feb. 14 goes to Black Flag Projects based in Edmonton, Alberta, which specialises in signage.

The preliminary concept sign presented by Black Flag Projects to replace the ‘Welcome to Fernie’ sign which is currently at the VIC is a marked departure from what welcomes visitors to Fernie today.

The iconic ‘Fernie’ logo remains, but gone is the natural wooden trim, 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, 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 new sign is budgeted as costing $75,000 according to the cost proposal as put forward by Black Flag Projects, making it the single most expensive item in the $342,000 proposal.

Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Fernie, Michael Boronowski stressed that all the designs (including the replacement welcome sign) as presented by Black Flag Projects were all preliminary (but created with some feedback), and were yet to go through further refinement.

Each item under the current contract must be designed, built and installed before the end of the year to stay within requirements set out by the initial grant allocation.

Black Flag Projects were the only company to submit a proposal to the city for the project.

Currently, while the sign to the north of Fernie (at the VIC) which greets visitors from the east is budgeted for replacement, the sign to the south, greeting visitors from the west has no funds allocated, and will remain.

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scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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