By Trevor Busch
Taber Communities in Bloom is requesting the town resurrect a welcome sign project that had been shelved by town council in September 2017 for projected cost overruns.
The fall wrap-up meeting involving the Town of Taber and Taber Communities in Bloom members was held in early October, and at that time several requests for future development arose and Communities in Bloom was advised to approach town council with those requests.
The projects could be included for consideration as part of the 2019, 2020, or 2021 capital budgets.
Key requests from the group included additional power on the north side of Confederation Park, lighting up the town’s Cornstalk, and signage on the north side of Highway 3 along the golf course highlighting Taber CIB’s provincial championship wins.
“When I saw the initial drawing of the proposed sign for the area north of Highway 3 bordering on the golf course, I could not wait to see it constructed,” said Jean Holmen with Taber Communities in Bloom, heading a delegation at town council’s Oct. 22 regular meeting. “This was going to be used to highlight our first championship, our second, and now we hope it will highlight all three. This was to be a Welcome to Taber sign with recognition of CIB championships. Other things could have been included on the sign, for example Taber Golf Course, or anything the Town of Taber determines should go on the sign. The workshop at the golf course would have been hidden.”
In late 2016, previous town council had voted 4-3 to budget $30,000 toward the project for 2017, but a proposed design came in well over budget at an estimated cost of roughly $65,000.
In the original design, the welcome sign and fence would be approximately 47 meters in length, with an arch in the centre section reaching a height of 10 to 12 feet, with a standard six foot height throughout the rest of the feature.
“The sign would replace the signs from the south, east and west as it would be directly north of Highway 36,” said Holmen. “As the present welcome signs are deteriorating and need to be replaced, we ask that the money that would be spent on three of those be allocated to this project. The amount of $30,000 was previously budgeted. It probably wouldn’t take very much more money to build this sign. We ask that the project begin sooner rather than later, because we think it’s time. This sign would be unlike any others, and would be an eye-popper. Let’s be the first once again.”
A proponent of the project in the past, Coun. Joe Strojwas continued to push for its eventual completion.
“The original designer was in town a couple of weeks ago, and he was going to resurrect that design on that. I had a talk with him and Sid Tams, and he was going to provide information and get us a materials cost on what it would take to move ahead. We have a number of people that did actually commit time and resources to that, but over the past couple of years it just kind of got waylaid a little bit. It’s a great project that does need to go forward.”
Holmen was also targeting added power hook-ups and availability for Confederation Park to assist in lighting programs and other events.
“Confederation Park could be home to more than just a spectacular display of lights at Christmas. It would be an asset to Cornfest and lots of other activities, for example recently the Coors One Horse Town. The light display would attract visitors to town and meet citizens with a warm, fuzzy feeling at the coolest time of year. The actual display would be installed and dismantled by volunteers.”
Administration would suggest that council may wish to support the request for additional power extended to the north side of Confederation Park to accommodate more events.
“The next is ‘Light Up the Cornstalk,'” continued Holmen. “We’ve looked at the Cornstalk since it was erected, and we know that the town could highlight the area and the Cornstalk to further enhance it and the area known as the trailhead, and we would use strings of small lights. We have been very successful at arranging for volunteers to do this. I’m not sure if we could, but this could be done at very low cost.”
Following discussion, council voted unanimously to accept the three requests as information while hosting a celebratory dinner recognizing Taber Communities in Bloom for their provincial award, with the funds to be allocated from the Council Discretionary Fund.
In a follow-up motion, council voted unanimously to direct administration to investigate the cost of CIB’s three requests and to bring that information back to town council at their next meeting.