“Basically the strategy is to design a program that will encourage or persuade tourists who are driving on Highway 97 to make the detour into Fort St. John,” he said. “They’ll turn off Highway 97 if they think there’s some reason to go to Fort St. John. The signs are only going to reinforce that reason.”
However, some of his comments rubbed city councillors the wrong way.
“Your presentation was really bad,” said Councillor Byron Stewart. “To me it wasn’t very seriously put together. You criticized our museum… and you criticized our community. People live here, people want to be here. If you’re going to give us a presentation on signs, stay on signs.”
In his presentation, Gallop referred to the North Peace Museum as, “sort of a sorry one”, and said his first impressions of the city were “not very good”, based on the billboards coming into town. He also had suggestions of creating a jazz festival in the centre of the city during one month, not unlike the existing High on Ice Festival, prompting Councillor Bruce Christensen to suggest that perhaps a consultant with better knowledge of the city would have been more appropriate.
Despite being unhappy with Gallop’s criticisms, some of his ideas were well-received, and council asked for a further report from staff with priorities, timelines, and budgets. The City has received a $9,200 grant from Tourism B.C., and there is $32,500 in the 2013 budget for its signage strategy.