Thompson-Nicola Regional District director Willow MacDonald intends to take concerns about overly strict enforcement of highway sign regulations to the Union of BC Municipalities.
“It really is a provincial matter,” she said. “There isn’t much I can do as a regional district director.”
MacDonald said the matter recently became an issue within Area B (Thompson Headwaters) when businesses began receiving letters from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, asking them to take down their signs if they were within a certain distance of the highway centre-line.
This is a big issue in small towns because often the major method of advertising to attract tourists off the highway is through signage.
Typically, the ministry foes not enforce the regulations, unless there is a complaint, she said.
In this case there apparently was a complaint and the businesses with signs on the highway right-of-way are being given time to remove their signs.
The present crackdown only involves signs next to Highway 5 in Area B, she said. However, she noted that there is no reason why a similar crackdown could not happen in Area A (Wells Gray Country) or elsewhere in the North Thompson Valley.
Leigh Budgell, who helps operate the Blue River Campground and RV Park, has begun a letter writing campaign on the question.
Many of the signs next to the highway have been there for 30 years and there have been no complaints, she wrote.
According to Budgell, the highways right-of-way is generally 100 feet (30m) from the centre line on each side. It can be more or less, depending on the terrain and other factors.
She is inviting business owners and residents in Blue River and Avola to write MLA Terry Lake as well as various ministers and tourist organizations.