Gelati sign on Athalmer hill attracts complaints

A sign placed on an embankment by the side of the road caused a minor stir last week.

A sign placed on an embankment by the side of the road caused a minor stir last week.

The sign — a banner advertising Gerry’s Gelati — was the subject of several complaints to The Pioneer, but by the time The Valley Echo followed up with the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) on Friday, August 22nd, the sign had already been removed for several days.

“It was not a permitted sign under the Columbia Valley zoning bylaw,” said RDEK chief administrative officer Lee-Ann Crane. “We didn’t have a huge volume of complaints about it; it could have been just one.”

The banner-sized ad had, several months earlier, been placed on a billboard that previously advertised the Invermere Deer Protection Society urging Invermere residents to vote against using a cull to control the urban deer population during a referendum on the matter last fall. Gerry’s Gelati owner and Invermere mayor Gerry Taft removed the banner from that billboard after the owners complained.

Mr. Taft told The Valley Echo he wouldn’t be surprised if members of the deer protection society, or others who oppose the deer cull, are behind the complaints about the banner being on the embankment.

“I imagine it’s some of the same people from the first time, and if it is I think it’s a personal attack on me,” said Mr. Taft. “From what I now understand, there are a lot of signs up there that don’t meet the bylaw, so it’s interesting that this particular one has to have a big deal made of it and be brought to The Echo’s attention. It’s also kind of interesting that nobody contacted me about it, but instead they first tried to make it into a publicity thing.”

Mr. Taft said, after taking his banner off the deer protection society billboard, that he had delegated to someone else to find a spot for the banner, and that person had chosen the spot on the embankment.

“Obviously, it doesn’t look the best just lying on the ground,” said Mr. Taft, adding a Calgary visitor had told him the sign looked tacky on the embankment.

Mr. Taft said he concurred with the visitor’s view and then removed the banner on Tuesday, August 19th, before the RDEK contacted him and before he was aware of the bylaw issues surrounding the banner’s placement. He added that the lone comment from the Calgary visitor was the only feedback he heard about the sign before it was taken off the embankment.


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