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Billboard to 'showcase' White Rock
Motorists crossing into Canada through the Douglas (Peace Arch) border will soon be greeted by a larger-than-life invitation to visit White Rock.
A billboard encouraging people to exit Highway 99 and check out the city by the sea is scheduled to be installed alongside the thoroughfare on April 23, officials with Tourism White Rock and the White Rock Business Improvement Association told council Monday.
Appearing to ask the city to cost-share the effort, Betina Albornoz and Sherri Wilson Morissette said the idea has been three years in the making, and expands on the organizations’ existing online, print and mobile platforms.
Facing south, the billboard – located on Semiahmoo First Nation land – will feature photography donated by White Rock resident Tim Shields, a Burnaby RCMP officer, and is hoped to catch the eye of the estimated three million northbound travellers expected to cross the border this year. In addition to inviting them to stop by and check out what the city has to offer, the 10-foot-by-40-foot ad will promote inwhiterock.com, said Albornoz, Tourism White Rock’s executive director.
“It is a unique opportunity to showcase the city,” Albornoz said. “It’s putting White Rock top-of-mind.”
But while council voted to foot half of the $42,560 cost of having the board up for a year, the decision was not unanimous.
Coun. Mary-Wade Anderson opposed the move, describing billboards as something most people “take no notice of… whatsoever.”
At the same time, Anderson was apologetic in not having a better idea.
“One of the futile things of what I’m saying is I don’t have a solution,” she said. “We have been looking for good signage directing people into White Rock for years.”
Asked by Coun. Helen Fathers if the organizations would proceed with the billboard with or without city support, Wilson Morissette – the BIA’s executive director – confirmed the deal with Pattison Outdoor Advertising is set.
Asked where the city could draw its share of the funds from, chief financial officer Sandra Kurylo suggested either the 2011 year-end surplus or the economic development reserve would be appropriate, on a one-time basis.
At Coun. Grant Meyer’s suggestion, council voted for the city to buy-in on a one-year trial, with funds coming from the economic development reserve.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin, Couns. Larry Robinson and Fathers all asked for proof of the endeavour’s effectiveness, which Wilson Morissette said would be monitored.