No Time for a bad sign.

Blog post by Dan Jelly

Today, Hamilton City Council decided that costs, lack of public interest, multiple location challenges and a lack of a detailed design were good enough reasons to stall progress on the $230,000 gateway sign project for the 403 entrance to Hamilton.  The idea originally received some attention some months ago as it was pointed out that 4 gateway signs had been long approved by Council, but no budget or action had materialized in over a decade.

While the ‘public outcry’ initiated by Laura Babcock resulted in bringing the project back into Council’s hands, the price tag and timelines caused some consternation.  A crowdfunding campaign was launched to help defray some of the costs, but a meagre sum of $350 was raised, which was not enough to convince some Councillors to ignore community anger over the overall price tag.

At this point, we should step back and ask ourselves if this was really ever a worthwhile project.  Will rushing it and erecting a plain, ugly, unpopular sign really do anything positive for Hamilton’s image?   The overall project calls for 4 gateway signs.  Are there not economies of scale to be achieved by building 4 at once?  Would increased time not afford us the opportunity to build signs we’re proud of rather than just what’s quick and cheap?

We’re told this is about home town pride.  Are there people who won’t be proud of Hamilton until we have a sign along the 403?  We’re told we need this before Pan Am.  Weren’t we already planning to put up temporary signs and hang banners welcoming Pan Am soccer fans?  Haven’t we already spent enough on these games?

We’re told the 403 is where this sign should go.  Why?  Any GPS or smartphone providing directions from Toronto to the stadium will take people across the Skyway and into Hamilton’s east end.  The 403 sign would be a complete waste of time, and a laughable folly.  I’m glad Council has pushed back this ill-conceived project.  We deserve better.

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