After eight years of welcoming visitors to the city and welcoming the residents back home, the “Welcome to Terrace” sign located alongside Hwy16 in Thornhill just past the Costa Lessa Motel is gone.
And its location, in Thornhill and not in Terrace, was the prime reason Thornhill Kitimat-Stikine regional district director Ted Ramsey said he wanted it removed.
Speaking last week, Ramsey said he questioned why the sign said “Welcome to Terrace” instead of “Welcome to Thornhill” immediately after it was put up in 2008, a move that was part of a leadership group development project on the part of the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce.
“It was the very first thing I attended to as a director,” said Ramsey.
“I have been unhappy with the sign for eight years now.”
The topic came up at the regional district’s Sept. 16 board meeting and when asked what he wanted the sign to read, he said “Welcome to Thornhill.”
The City of Terrace then submitted two options for the sign: change the wording or take the sign out, he added.
“I said ‘change it’ and the next thing I know the sign was gone,” said Ramsey, adding he understands the city is also planning to remove the concrete base, which still remains in place.
Ramsey intends to make the new sign himself, having experience making signs in the past and saying it’s not really that difficult to do.
Ramsey’s displeasure with the sign and his request its wording be changed took the form of a motion at the Sept. 16 regional district board meeting so as “…to address the problem that the sign offends Thornhill residents, it is recommended that the regional district suggest to the city that welcoming signs to the general area and located outside municipal boundaries should use ‘Welcome to Thornhill’ as it is located with Electoral Area E [Thornhill].” The motion was passed unanimously.
The sign was removed during the week of Sept. 19-23, and is temporarily being housed at the City of Terrace’s public works yard while a new location is being sought.
Ramsey is thinking of holding a competition to design the sign, “My intent is to go to the community and say ‘what would you like to see?’” he said, adding that the regional district director for the Nass Valley, Harry Nyce, offered to help with anything Ramsey needs to build the sign and a new base if the old one is moved.
Ramsey recently got the heavy horse pull back as an annual event at the Thornhill Community Grounds and has always felt that the Thornhill area probably supplied firewood to fuel the boilers of the steam-powered riverboats which used to ply the Skeena River before the railway was built.
That being the case, having horses on any new sign would be appropriate, Ramsey said.
Before the sign was removed, Ramsey took photos of it and says the words on it couldn’t be read because the sign hadn’t been maintained by the city. He believes it should be placed near Ferry Island along Hwy 16 where the city boundary begins.
The now-removed sign was one of four erected by the chamber of commerce leadership development program in 2008. It replaced an older sign in the same location.
There’s an identical sign west of the city on Hwy 6, another one is just north of the Northwest Regional Airport along Hwy 37 South and another north along the Hwy113 near Halliwell Ave.
Ramsey added that the sign near the airport is also in Thornhill and should be changed as well but has since been told it’s on Terrace land.
“It might be but it’s equally offending to Thornhill residents too,” said Ramsey.
City councillor Sean Bujtas, who represented the city at the Sept. 16 regional district meeting, said that sign is on part of the city’s industrial lands so it didn’t need to be changed to Welcome to Thornhill.