Parksville Downtown Business Association pitches way-finding plan to city council

The group is looking for the city to cost-share on the project

The Parksville Downtown Business Association wants to help tourists and locals find their way around the city by foot and they are asking for the city’s help.

It’s called way-finding and PDBA representatives gave city council a presentation explaining the concept on Monday night.

The PDBA has set aside $30,000 in its 2016 budget for what it calls “placemaking,” which includes pedestrian way-finding initiatives. It’s not known how much of that would be spent on actual signage and how much on a consultant to help the PDBA determine where signs might be located or how many would suffice.

On Monday, the PDBA was asking council to consider, in its 2016 budget deliberations, providing $7,500-$10,000 for the consultant.

PDBA treasurer Michelle Jones provided council with a detailed look at some way-finding initiatives in other communities.

“Way-finding is a key element in creating a pedestrian-friendly downtown,” said Jones.

The PDBA’s presentation included photos from other cities of heads-up maps and directional signage on poles that look much like street signs.

The heads-up maps can be two-three metres high, with a ‘you are here’ marker pointing people to businesses, civic facilities, parks and other attractions.

At this stage, the PDBA representatives told council they do not know how much the heads-up maps cost or how many should be placed in the city, although they did show a Parksville Downtown map with 12 locations circled for either heads-up maps or directional signage. They said this type of detail is what they would get from the consultant.

“We do believe Community Park would be the best place for the first (heads-up map),” said PDBA executive director Pam Bottomley.

Jones and Bottomley also presented data on the effectiveness of these measures in other cities.

Jones said the German city of Dusseldorf recorded a 36 per cent increase in retail sales after it erected this kind of signage and Atchison, a city 10,000 people in Kansas, reported an 18 per cent increase.

Coun. Sue Powell said she found the heads-up maps useful on a recent trip to London, England.

“It was like a lifeline,” she said.

Council agreed to consider the PDBA’s request for funding in its 2016 budget deliberations.

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