Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — at least when it comes to giant guitars.
Members of Red Deer’s municipal planning commission had mixed opinions on Monday as to whether it’s desirable to have a nearly eight-metre-long guitar-shaped sign perched over Hwy 2.
That’s the plan of Western RV Country, which was seeking approval to mount the illuminated sign outside its shop in the West QEII Business Park.
Western RV Country owner Bruce Urban purchased the sign from a Michigan bar and restaurant and trucked it to Central Alberta.
He wants to mount it diagonally on a 30-cm-diameter post, with the whole structure nine metres high.
Western RV Country’s application first came before the commission on July 6, at which time it was tabled so details of entranceway corridor guidelines being drafted by Parkland Community Planning Services for the city and Red Deer County could be obtained.
The commission heard on Monday that those draft guidelines, in their present form, would not allow the sign. But city manager Craig Curtis and city solicitor Nick Riebeek argued that the guidelines were irrelevant because they have yet to be approved by city council.
Curtis added that the proposed sign was “fun and interesting,” and a welcome change from standard rectangular signs.
Councillor Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer added that she didn’t find the guitar sign offensive, and public member Rene Michalak commented on the environmental benefits of recycling a sign.
City planning manager Nancy Hackett, however, said she was concerned about the adverse impact such a sign at a major entryway into Red Deer could have on the city’s image.
Western RV Country manager Todd Plotnikoff previously said he thought the unique sign would “enhance” the corridor and become a local landmark.
He told the commission on Monday that Western RV Country was willing to reduce the lighting on the sign.
Ultimately, a majority of commission members voted in favour of the guitar sign.