Tourism students audit Alberni signs

Where do Port Alberni’s signs lead? Do they encourage visitors to drive on through to the West Coast or do they direct them to Uptown?

VIU tourism students Dexter Lankenau

Where do Port Alberni’s signs lead? Do they encourage visitors to drive on through to the West Coast or do they direct them up into our downtown?

That’s what a team of Vancouver Island University tourism students is hoping to find out.

“We’re doing a signage audit for the town,” said Eric Chalker during a visit to Port Alberni in early November.

“We’re assessing all the road signs and tourist attraction signs as if we’ve never been here.”

The four students will determine what signs they feel are helpful and which are not.

“What signs are effective, what signs are useless, different recommendations, where a sign should or shouldn’t be… stuff like that,” said Chalker.

“We’re just following the major routes in: from Tofino, two from Nanaimo and then from Bamfield. I think the community is aware that they’re a drive-through city for tourists so they want to know how useful the directions are.”

After all, if visitors can’t find what they’re looking for, why would they stay in Port Alberni?

“It’s in terms of way finding, making their way to visitors’ services… so people can find where to spend their money in the community. How else are they going to increase their infrastructure?” said Dexter Lankenau.

The signage audit is part of a research methods class the students are taking at VIU.

The idea, city economic development manager Pat Deakin said, came from branding committee member Jolleen Dick.

“I suggested the signage audit because I had previous experience in conducting one while attending VIU,” said Dick, also a councillor for the Hupacasath First Nation.

“I knew it was something our community absolutely needed. Other communities on Vancouver island have been audited and I saw the opportunity for it to be our turn.”

The other signage audits done on the Island include the Cowichan Valley, Comox Valley, Tofino and Ucluelet, Dick added.

“I know with improved signage we can make a memorable impression and improve the visitor experience in Port Alberni and in the Alberni Valley.”

Mayor Mike Ruttan got on board and the idea was put into motion.

“Jolleen [Dick], Cherry Creek director Lucas Banton an myself met with four students from the VIU tourism program when were at the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance summit,” said Deakin.

While the audit is being done for the city—free of charge, although Deakin’s office is paying for their hotel rooms—they looked at signs outside of city limits too.

“We got some signs by Parksville too,” said Chalker.

The verdict?

“We found that there was a lot of clutter so far,” Chalker said.

“Remember we had those three signs within a kilometre? They were all the same… two of those can be taken out and save that much more money not creating those signs.”

For other attractions, there’s not enough signage.

“Visitors want to know where the visitors’ centre is for example and the signs are so short notice.”

As the only sign at the city’s entrance that says “Port Alberni,” the Rotary sign didn’t get high marks either.

“It’s pretty small, it should be four times bigger,” said Fabian Jucker.

It wasn’t all work and no play for the foursome.

“The Bulldogs comped them tickets to the Vernon Vipers game and the Young Professionals of the Alberni Valley were available to show them the community if needed,” said Deakin.

“We showed them the hospitality the city is renowned for.”

The signage audit report is due in December.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

twitter.com/alberninews

Just Posted

Hay bales and high fives for Port Alberni soapbox derby

New track on Lower Argyle Street gets a thumbs up

Brush fire breaks out near Taylor Arm Park

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Rosalind Chapman seeks seat on Port Alberni city council

Community volunteer and longtime Alberni Valley resident Rosalind Chapman will seek a… Continue reading

Accident causes power outage on Beaver Creek Road

One sent to West Coast General Hospital in crash

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Most Read