A controversial green archway has raised debate about how much corporate branding is too much in the City of Red Deer.
A clad metal “gateway,” painted in the lime green logo colour of Servus Credit Union, was proposed for the end of a raised walkway that would extend out from the new Servus Arena to 43rd Street.
The stand-alone structure, shaped like an enormous half a circle, was to stand near 43rd Street at the site of a new contoured pedestrian crossing. It was considered as part of a parking lot reconstruction in front of the new Servus Arena and Pidherney Curling Centre.
Red Deer’s Municipal Planning Commission members heard on Wednesday that, while the lot improvements will be paid for by the city, the arch was suggested by Servus, which would finance it and paint it a Servus green.
Commission member and city councillor Vesna Higham took issue with having corporate branding on a architectural feature that spotlights a walking pathway that will eventually stretch to the Golden Circle and Bluegrass Sod Farm Spray Park.
While Servus paid towards arena construction to get naming rights to the facility, the archway wasn’t included in this deal. Higham praised the company for its generosity but suggested it be recognized for financing the arch with a plaque.
The councillor, who has heard some residents’ concerns about corporate branding on public structures, made a motion that the archway be painted in the City of Red Deer’s own red instead.
Although a few commission members didn’t mind the lime green, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer sided with Higham and helped sway the majority of the board to vote for red.
MPC’s role is to uphold the city’s planning vision, and having a City of Red Deer-branded gateway “keeps with the vision of our Master Plan,” Veer explained.
If the colour change isn’t approved by Servus, the proposed arch will be withdrawn. But “I wouldn’t want to lose it,” added Higham, who would then seek city funding.
The approved parking lot expansion will include 509 vehicle stalls and the paving of the gravel lot near the skateboard park (the large empty lot across 43rd Street will remain unpaved for now). A tree-lined pedestrian path, planted “islands” between stalls, and a flashing light at the pedestrian crossing will also be featured.