Tourists trying to find their way around Hope will soon have an easier time.
The Hope Cascades and Canyons Gateway Signage Project is going ahead with provincial government funding.
AdvantageHOPE has obtained $375,000 through the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program’s (CERIP) Destination Development stream.
AdvantageHOPE executive director Shannon Jones said the money will be paying for new signage in nine locations.
Three will be information kiosks that she described as “community wayfinding portals.”
One example already exists down the street from Hope District Hall next to the bus stop. It’s a towering rock, into which is embedded a map of downtown similar to a mall directory, pointing visitors toward food, retail and accommodations.
“We’re looking to do three more of those,” Jones noted. “One will be at Kawkawa Lake, one at Schkam Lake (of the Woods) rest stop and there’s a third for Coquihalla Canyon Park, although we’ll have to address that because this plan was applied for before the flooding.”
The new kiosks will feature more than a map.
“It will also have Indigenous storytelling on it, and we’re working with a First Nations community partner (Bonny Graham) to make sure that we are sharing the correct story and supporting that story,” Jones said.
Nine ‘gateway’ signs will be installed at various highway exits welcoming travellers to the Hope Cascades and Canyons region.
“There’ll be one highway sign saying, ‘Downtown Hope, next exit,’ because we really want to enhance the downtown experience and get the downtown core really bustling,” said Jones, adding that the signs go hand-in-hand with a longer-term Downtown Revitalization Plan that’s in the works. “There needs to be proper signage on the highway to identify that (downtown), which there isn’t currently.”
In the early days of the COVID pandemic, AdvantageHope created an Economic Recovery Committee that included community stakeholders along with municipal, provincial and federal representatives.
“We discussed all the things we felt we needed to do to help the community recover from COVID, and the signage plan was a top priority,” Jones said. “Part of that included surveys to the community for residents to fill out, and that was undeniably identified as a top priority to get business revitalized in the downtown.”
All of these new signs are part of phase two and three of the Hope Cascades and Canyons Gateway Signage Project, which was created in 2019.
The District of Hope already went ahead with phase one, with vehicle wayfinding signs installed in 16 locations.
This new work needs to be completed by March of 2023, but Jones said they’re looking to have everything done by the end of 2022.
The District of Hope had been holding $375,000 in reserve to pay for these signs if CERIP funding wasn’t approved, and in fact AdvantageHOPE was turned down last year.
“But we wanted to continue advocating for the funding to alleviate the cost for the district, and open up that money for another project,” Jones said. “We are happy we could do that.”
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