PUBLIC opinion, at least that which appears on social media, may be running against Thornhill regional district director Ted Ramsey’s successful effort to remove a ‘Welcome to Terrace’ sign from beside Hwy16 in his community but he remains steadfast in his position.
Speaking last week, Ramsey said he hasn’t read any of the online comments on his stance that Thornhill isn’t the place for a sign welcoming people to Terrace.
And, in any event, he generally doesn’t pay attention to social media.
The controversy erupted after Ramsey was successful at the September meeting of the Kitimat-Stikine regional district to have a motion passed to have the sign removed.
It’s now at the City of Terrace’s public works yard, awaiting refurbishment and a decision on where it should be placed next. The base for the sign has also been removed by the city.
“If you’re in a community, a sign should have that community’s name on it,” said Ramsey.
“Is it OK for me to go to Terrace and put a ‘Welcome to Thornhill’ sign up?”
Ramsey added that he didn’t draw the local government boundaries establishing both the City of Terrace and the Thornhill area within the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine – he is simply pointing out where they are.
Terrace and Thornhill are two different communities as evidenced by the fact that they’re separated by the Skeena River, he said.
City of Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc said she understands Ramsey’s side of the matter, but notes the sign removal has had a negative impact.
“I guess in some sense it’s unfortunate because it’s upset people but I do understand Mr. Ramsey and I know it’s upset him for a long time,” she said, adding she knows he’s very passionate about having a ‘Welcome to Thornhill’ sign within his community.
As for what the issue says about the future of the relationship between Terrace and Thornhill, which has been an ongoing issue for decades, she doesn’t believe it will have an effect.
“I don’t think it really says much of anything,” she said.
“We have friends and family in Thornhill and Terrace. I grew up in Thornhill and when I think about the Greater Terrace Area, it belongs to all of us here,” she said, adding that an online comment about including the local First Nations’ name on a sign is also a good idea.
With the welcome sign now removed and at the city’s works yard, employees will refurbish it over the winter and a new location, this time within the City of Terrace limits, will be selected.
The sign was first erected in November 2008, one of four organized by a leadership development group sponsored by the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce. It replaced an sign that had been there earlier.
Ramsey was at the official unveiling of the sign, one of his first acts as the Thornhill regional district director following his election to the position earlier that month.
But he says he was not happy then and has been unhappy since about the sign’s location, a situation which eventually brought on his motion at the September 16 regional district board meeting.
His motion read …. “…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.
Ramsey believes a Welcome to Terrace sign should be placed near Ferry Island along Hwy 16 where the city boundary begins.
The other three signs chamber of commerce program signs are located west of the city on Hwy16, just north of the Northwest Regional Airport along Hwy 37 South and north of Terrace along the Hwy113 near Halliwell Ave.