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Robert Bird

AMHERST – It’s low-hanging fruit, so why not pick it?

That’s Amherst councilor Robert Bird’s argument: Changing highway signs to draw more traffic into Amherst won’t magically fix our economy, but it should be easy to do and may help bring more tourists to town.

Bird is concerned that provincially-placed highway signs along the Trans-Canada do not make optimal use of messaging; in some cases providing too little enticement to exit the highway and, in other cases, offering information that is poorly organized.

“I’m a little frustrated,” said Bird.

According to the councilor, the town approached the province two or three years ago about changing signs between the border and exit four. The response was that changes would be expensive, he claimed. But the town representative doesn’t see why, at a minimum, stickering over wording with other wording couldn’t be done inexpensively.

One clear omission, according to Bird, is the absence of a mention directing drivers to the downtown. And on a drive from the Aulac exit to exit four in Nova Scotia, Bird suggested a sign indicating two lanes were for “thru” traffic could be changed so that the right-hand side was marked as the lane people would want if they were planning to exit at Amherst.

As an aside, he pointed out the large Joggins Fossil Centre on the shoulder and said its design made it difficult to read.

The councilor insisted other communities have the types of signage he’s suggesting. He also indicated the LaPlanche Street entrance into town wouldn’t be his first choice for a tourist’s first impression of Amherst.

Bird is unclear why the signs were designed as they were but suggested it might date back to when the highway was twinned. He thinks sign wording could be fixed relatively cheaply and in time for the summer.

esparling@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNsparling

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, LaPlanche Street

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Recent comments

  • Lisa
    May 20, 2013 - 10:50

    I have to agree...I love Amherst as a place to live but as far as bringing tourists in there is nothing here to bring them in. I can understand that they want to try and boost tourism but you have to have something to attract tourists. Tourism is down all over and that is due to the high cost of gas and poor road conditions which is not the town's fault but the province. However I think the money spent on the down town restoration could probably have been better spent on improving street conditions in the town and other things that are more needed. When coming into town form LaPlanche Street it is a little rough looking out that way as well as the area down by the tracks,the old buildings that are falling apart and spray painted over look terrible and the big hole too...these are things that need to be taken care of.Not a new park(the other one was very nice),or restoring the old town hall,now the old building which is not that old stands empty,brick side walks that are already coming apart. None of this was needed,as a tax payer in this town it frustrates me to no end. Just my opinion.

  • Mike
    May 17, 2013 - 14:34

    I have lived in Amherst for the past 18 years and love it. It is wonderful when it is home. With that said, however,not a lot here to offer tourist. Hang as many signs as you want, once here what would they do ??? More importantly where would they eat ??? Love Amherst as home, but not much to do as a tourist. Maybe we should continue directing them to Sackville where they can at least listen to some live music in the park there.

  • Billy Trenholm
    May 16, 2013 - 13:51

    Gee Guys, a lotta negativity here. I wonder what would happen if everybody put in a positive suggestion . At least Councillor Bird has those creative juices flowing. I have lived in the Annapolis Valley since the mid 80s. I can sure as heck tell ya the Provincial Government has lots of signs similar to what Councillor Bird is suggesting, from Wolfville to Digby. Most locals here see them as being helpful to ppl. not familiar with the area. I haven't lived in Amherst for many years but there is lots of Amherst in the old fella. Amherst is a Grand Ole Lady and a little respect and assistance would be honourable. Thank you,

  • Dannie Wilson
    May 16, 2013 - 09:06

    I have been doing a driving Holiday every year to the Maritimes and without exception Amherst is the most expensive place to stay. The rates for the Comfort Inn as well as the new one by the highway and the Bed and Breakfasts are the most expensive anywhere in Nova Scotia, PEI and New Brunswick which is why I stopped staying in Amherst. I love the town and the people but it is just too expensive to stay.( $65.00 a night at Days INN Edmunston and $120.00 at the Comfort Inn in Amherst just one example).

  • Larry Vaughn
    May 16, 2013 - 07:42

    Again, we see some public official trying to rearrange the Titanic deck chairs and getting his mug in the paper. It will make zero difference. Change all the signs you want to, but tourists aren't stopping here. This article is just more proof that the town council has no idea how to bring the economy of the town to rights and get some progress happening here. Furthermore, tourism numbers are down all over, so why is Mr Bird attaching so much importance to another fading opportunity? Tourists stop here for gasoline and a hamburger while they travel in and out of the province to real tourist destinations. No amount of propaganda signage will change that and its simply unrealistic to think that.

  • something
    May 15, 2013 - 23:04

    i would of thought that the disco lights, the gnome huts, the destroyed brick crosswalks, and meeting four cop cars every time you go for a drive would of brought the tourists in

    • Bill
      May 16, 2013 - 19:07

      I feel so bad because I forgot to sat anything about the wonderful gnome huts. You should not pick on the police some of the tourist have to come back to pay their fines.

  • Bill
    May 15, 2013 - 16:58

    The new disco lights just not doing it?????????????????????

  • Mr. Chow
    May 15, 2013 - 15:19

    That is great that we as a town are spending more money on something that really will not help this town at all. People are leaving this town there are more houses for sale now and there is no work that pays. Yes there is min wage jobs but really who can live off that. To be honest really what does the down town have to offer anyone............really if you think about it. The worse thing that was done buy the town to down town was what they did to the park. If you think about it anyone coming from a larger city does not want to see a concrete. The big hole down town really REALLY needs to start to be worked on ASAP. But again if a lot of people are leaving then why would anyone want to come here.