Size matters, says Dolly’s

Sign bylaw called unfair to hardware store

Bryan and Liz Virgin show off the permitted size of their new sign. The larger W represents the size of the proposed lettering.

Bryan and Liz Virgin show off the permitted size of their new sign. The larger W represents the size of the proposed lettering.

Bryan and Liz Virgin have a sizable complaint with the Town of Qualicum Beach.

The owners of Dolly’s Home Hardware are unhappy about the size of sign the municipality is mandating for their new store on Second Avenue, calling it far too small and questioning why they have been singled out.

The issue arose at a special council meeting Wednesday, when planner Luke Sales recommended that council turn down a development variance permit application for a larger sign at the facility.

In his report to council, Sales said the sign already approved by the town in February was nearly twice the size mandated in the bylaw — 4.1 sq. metres — as opposed to the 2.5 sq. metres allowed. The new proposal, he said, for a sign 9.5 sq. metres in size, is not necessary, is not required by Home Hardware corporate guidelines, hides important building characteristics, is not to scale with neighboring signs and is overbearing for its location.

“There are two primary factors that determine what size the letters should be: distance and speed,” he said. “Two-foot-high letters … should be readable from approximately 1,000 feet away.”

The farthest distance the sign would be visible, he added would be about 300 feet. As well, while the signs would be appropriate in size for fast-moving highway traffic, vehicles on Second Ave. would not be moving at anything like highway speeds.

The town’s advisory planning commission also recommended rejection of the request.

Councillor Mary Brouilette said the new proposal includes the elimination of two smaller signs included in the original proposal and stressed the sign is entirely appropriate for a 10,000 square metre building. 

She also noted that Quality Foods and Pharmasave have been given significant leeway with their signs.

“I find this a biased proposal from the planning department,” she said. 

Brouilette was backed up by Coun. Jack Wilson, who said the overall look of the sign in proportion to the building looks appropriate.

In response, Sales said there are several areas of possible compromise, including the addition of the corporate logo on one side and the word Dolly’s on the other. He also suggested the addition of projecting signage could work to both the town’s and the company’s advantage.

Brouilette suggested the matter be sent back to staff for consultation with Dolly’s management — without formally rejecting the proposal. 

Council voted in favor of this motion.

In an interview, Bryan Virgin said the sign is far too small for a building 140 feet long, noting other larger companies have received different treatment.

“Our beef is that the Q in  QF’s sign is 25 inches long and 21 inches across and our W was to be 14 inches,” he said. “They have three signs and we have one. This is the only thing that identifies us as Home Hardware. If you drive past Heidi’s House here — which is what they call it because it doesn’t look like a Home Hardware — and there’s no way to tell it’s a Home Hardware. Why are we being discriminated against?”

The issue will be raised again at the June 13 council meeting.


Parksville Qualicum Beach News