Home found for welcome sign

Welcome to Oak Bay sign finds a new home

The prodigal sign has returned.

The municipality has settled on a location for a much-talked-about “Welcome to Oak Bay” sign after a scouting mission led by the mayor himself.

The sign, hand-carved by the late Ian Gilbert, will be erected on the southeast corner of the intersection of McNeill Avenue and Foul Bay Road.

It has been in storage since being removed from its original location near the north gates of the Uplands more than a year ago, after the district’s heritage committee expressed concerns with its proximity to the heritage-designated gates.

A compromise proposed by the Oak Bay community initiatives committee to move the sign 10 metres further away was also shot down, leading Mayor Christopher Causton to begin a search for a new location.

The end result is one everyone can be happy with, he said.

“I looked at various entry points into Oak Bay and where we had some boulevard space that would be appropriate. We already have a small welcome post there, so this will be a nice upgrade.”

In order to use the location, the district had to get permission from the City of Victoria, because it straddles the border between the municipalities.

In addition to the sign, a small garden comprised of drought-resistant native plants will be planted around it.

John Herbert was the only councillor to oppose Causton’s recommendation.

“I promised (Gilbert) … that it would be in Uplands,” Herbert said, “so for that reason I can’t support this new location.”

Causton said he visited Gilbert’s fellow woodworkers at the Monterey Recreation Centre before making his recommendation. “They said, ‘Christopher, wherever you decide to put it is OK with us,’” he said.

When finished, the sign and garden will closely resemble the one installed at Fairfield Road and Beach Drive in 2006.