“Welcome to Fernie” sign for a replacement – The Free Press


Fernie city councilors have voted to award a $342,000 contract to an Edmonton-based company to design and install new signage in the city, including the replacement of the ‘Welcome to Fernie’ sign at the Visitor Information Center which welcomes travelers from Alberta.

The funds come from grants the city received from the province in early 2021, totaling more than $750,000 for electric vehicle charging infrastructure and improving tourism and visitor information center at Visitors (CIV), at City Hall and throughout the city.

The final contract to be awarded is for the replacement of the City of Fernie “welcome” monument at the VIC, wayfinding and interpretive signage, improved landscaping, covered areas and parking bicycles and infrastructure “for a possible future bike-sharing or rental program” at the VIC and at the town hall.

A previous contract under the same series of improvements was for a parking lot overhaul and installation of electric vehicle charging stations at the VIC and City Hall for $160,000.

The contract awarded on Monday, February 14 is awarded to Edmonton, Alberta-based Black Flag Projects, which specializes in signage.

The preliminary concept sign submitted by Black Flag Projects to replace the “Welcome to Fernie” sign currently at the VIC is a marked departure from what greets visitors to Fernie today.

The iconic “Fernie” logo remains, but the natural wood trim is gone, replaced by a steel cutout with a forest background, stone-filled steel baskets, precast concrete, I-beams and a “roof” shed-style metal slat joint”.

According to Black Flag’s proposal, the materials used are inspired by Fernie and its surroundings, heritage buildings, industrial roots and demographics.

“We took inspiration from Fernie’s distinct history and adapted the use of weathering steel, rubble and I-beams that will blend in well with the environment,” the proposal reads.

The new sign is budgeted at $75,000 according to the cost proposal submitted by Black Flag Projects, making it the most expensive item in the $342,000 proposal.

City of Fernie General Manager Michael Boronowski pointed out that all of the designs (including the replacement welcome sign) presented by Black Flag Projects were all preliminary (but created with some feedback) and needed further refinement.

Each element under the current contract must be designed, built and installed by the end of the year to meet the requirements defined by the initial grant allocation.

Black Flag Projects was the only company to submit a proposal to the city for the project.

Currently, while the North Fernie sign (at the VIC) welcoming visitors from the East is budgeted for replacement, the South sign welcoming visitors from the West has no funds allocated and will remain.

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