Osoyoos Council looking for provincial help with illegal highway signs

Osoyoos Council wants another kick at the proliferation of illegal signs littering Hwy. 97 south of Oliver to the U.S. border and plans to enlist provincial help to get them removed.

Council has requested a meeting with the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure when members attend the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) gathering later this month.

Responding to a request from MLA Linda Larson about visits the Town would like to arrange with provincial delegates during the week-long conference in Victoria Sept. 26-30, CAO Barry Romanko included a visit with Transportation officials to discuss the growing proliferation of illegal signs along the provincial highway.

An effort to curb commercial signage along Hwy. 97 was initiated by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen in 2012; however it collapsed in part because of provincial apathy.

Council this time, said Mr. Romanko, wants to ensure the provincial government is on board before it encourages another effort to do away with the commercial signs.

“What Council sees is a continued proliferation of those signs and I noticed this weekend four more very large business signs go up promoting one particular business,” Mr. Romanko told Ms Larson.

“If Transportation would start this process again, then the Regional District would be also on centre stage to implement their sign bylaw to take away third-party signage as well.”

Mr. Romanko said both the Osoyoos and Oliver councils want “to see this program succeed and it’s not succeeding.”

The signs in question are located off the highway corridor on private property. An RDOS bylaw prohibits third-party signage on private property and restricts the number and size of signs promoting a site-based business.

That bylaw, however, is not currently enforced.

Council also wants to talk about a planned downtown revitalization project and the replacement of storm sewers. There is some talk Hwy. 3 through Osoyoos could be repaved and the Town doesn’t want “to dig up new pavement.”

Additional meetings with the Minister of Finance (to discuss the future of the Resort Municipality funding initiative) and the Ministry of Health (to talk about the South Okanagan General Hospital) were also requested.

Have your say . . .