Two large “welcome” signs now welcome visitors into the Town of Bentley on Highway 12.
The signs went up a few weeks ago and better distinguishes the town since Highway 12’s move from the centre of Bentley.
“That particular entranceway into town really wasn’t demarcated well,” said Marc Fortais, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Bentley, “it’s really industrial kind of feeling and looking so we really wanted to try to make sure that people know that Bentley’s here.”
The signs are positioned in a location which enables visitors to look out at the Blindman Valley.
In the future, Fortais says, they hope to do some seasonal displays, such as Christmas lights, and maybe add to the space in the coming years.
“[It’s] a really goof spot for photo opportunities and just let people know that there’s a lot more to Bentley than just passing by on the highway.”
A work in progress, a garden will be built around the signs by Wolf’s Botanical towards the end of September.
Fortais says they wanted to get the signs in first to give the concrete time to set before building up the garden around them.
The signs themselves, which read “Town of Bentley Welcomes You”, were designed in collaboration with the Public Works Department and the Town’s previous CAO. Public Works staff also fabricated the posts and such for the signs in-house.
Funds for the project came out of the Town’s budget, and was approved by the mayor and council.
Each sign cost approximately $7,000 and a budget of $20,000 related to the garden was recently approved as well.
“In total you’re looking at about a $34,000… which isn’t bad for gateway signage for communities,” explained Fortais, who added he didn’t want to spend an “exorbitant” amount of money.
He says the project is about economic development and attracting tourists into the town.
With a lot of tourist traffic running between Sylvan Lake and Gull Lake, some of them take Highway 12 and the signs are about making people notice there is more in the community.
“I truly feel that the businesses here provide a level of service that’s above and beyond many communities and really interact with the clientele that they have, so I think we’ve got a little hidden gem here,” he said.
“Hopefully people turn off the road and get to experience the small town charm that Bentley has.”