Councillors liked the idea of an ‘Ashburton A’ welcoming people to the town, but with no money set aside that vision will be up to the new council.
The Ashburton District Council started the process of looking at introducing welcome signs, but with no budget allocated to the project it will have to wait to be part of the next annual plan process.
Councillors had identified that the entrance to Ashburton township has no signage to welcome people into the town, which led to design consultants, McCarthy Limited, developing concepts for the councillors to look at preferred options – of which a giant A was the popular choice.
With no budget for the project it has been paused until the next annual plan process when, if it is still deemed necessary by the incoming council, a budget can be identified.
“From existing budgets we were able to work on some design concepts and gather the thoughts back from council,” community services group manager Steve Fabish said.
“The way to get the money would be for the next incoming council to consider this as part of the next annual plan process.”
The council had considered ideas around Ashburton’s branding last year, including discussions around replacing the maligned Whatever it Takes slogan, which hasn’t been used for years.
In September the council opted to discard the slogan but not adopt a new one, despite plenty of public interest.
A year later, town signs have been considered.
Fabish said the project started with councillors aware that there was no obvious budget, but that staff would develop a business case for the next annual plan or long-term plan if the councillors wanted to proceed.
“They are, and that is the pathway we are on.
“It is possible that a new council may think differently, but they may also want to build on the initial thinking.”
The concepts were put to the councillors in an anonymous survey which had 13 responses from the 10 councillors, meaning some councillors voted more than once on the eight options.
The ‘Ashburton A’ coming through as the most popular option.
The incoming council may have other ideas when, or if, the project is revisited for the next annual plan, where it will also be subject to public consultation.
The council report estimated, based on previous work by the sign maker that a sign at each end of town could cost up to $150,000 – $50,000 per sign, $20,000 for power supply, and $5000 for landscaping.
Deputy Mayor Liz McMillan asked about the possibility of a local service club picking up the project which Fabish said “has not been considered by staff at this early stage”.
- By Jonathan Leask