Planners to consult on giant guitar sign

The giant teapot perched above Glenn’s Family Restaurant in Gasoline Alley has long been a landmark for Hwy 2 travellers.

The giant teapot perched above Glenn’s Family Restaurant in Gasoline Alley has long been a landmark for Hwy 2 travellers.

Todd Plotnikoff thinks a giant guitar could serve a similar purpose further north.

Plotnikoff manages the Western RV Country outlet in the West QEII Business Park west of Hwy 2. That business wants to erect a guitar-shaped sign measuring nearly eight metres in length.

“I think it really would enhance the corridor,” he said.

“The city would be known for that.”

The guitar spent a number of years promoting a bar and grill in Michigan, said Plotnikoff. Western RV Country owner Bruce Urban spotted it on EBay, and decided it would be a good way to promote his Red Deer dealership.

The sign has since been purchased and trucked to Red Deer. The plan is to place it diagonally on a 30-cm-diameter post, with the entire structure extending 12 metres into the air.

Much of the guitar would be illuminated, including its tuning knobs, strings and perimeter. “Western R.V. Country” would appear on its face.

The only remaining hurdle is to gain approval from Red Deer’s municipal planning commission.

On Monday, the prospects of a giant guitar greeting south-bound visitors received a mixed reaction from commission members.

City planning manager Nancy Hackett said guidelines for signs posted at major entry ways into the city are being developed by Parkland Community Planning Services, with input from the city and Red Deer County.

Haley Horvath, a planner with Parkland Community Planning Services, said those guidelines have been delayed and are not expected until late summer or early fall.

Commission members voted to table Western RV Country’s application for two weeks so they can get some information about the draft guidelines.

Joyce Boon, the city’s development and licensing supervisor, noted that the commission’s approval would not have been required if the Western RV Country property was still zoned industrial.

In April, city council changed the zoning to direct control to allow the business to sell, service and repair recreational vehicles and other products — activities not permitted under industrial zoning.

Plotnikoff said he understands why the commission wants to review the draft guidelines before making a decision. He remains optimistic the sign will be approved.

Businesses should be allowed to be creative and develop unique symbols, suggested Plotnikoff, pointing to Glenn’s giant teapot in Red Deer County as a good example.

“It definitely doesn’t detract from the area. Why not have one on the north end of town too?”

Western RV Country in Airdrie has a nine-metre statue of a cowboy looking down on Hwy 2, he added, and McDonalds’ golden arches are commonplace along highways.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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