Digital sign for community use

Rotary-sponsored sign at AG Valley Foods for nonprofit and community events

Imagine you are organizing an event in this community. You book the space, you coordinate the activities, you rope in the volunteers. You call the newspaper to get a story in to promote it, and make a Facebook event. You’ve done everything you can to prepare, right? Not quite. There is actually another tool available to promote the community event you’ve worked so hard to put together.

The digital sign located at AG Valley Foods in Invermere is available to all nonprofit groups and community events. The Rotary Club of Invermere launched the project with that goal in mind, says president Yvonne Redeker.

“The original intention was to create a facility, as we often do at Rotary, for the benefit of the community,” she says. “When we hold a fundraiser, it is community-raised money, so we’d like to reach as many people as we can with our funding.”

Ms. Redeker says while the original idea seemed simple enough, the process became quite “onerous” for the Rotary. The sign was a hot-button topic as District of Invermere council members were divided on whether to approve the necessary variance permit. However, Council ultimately approved the sign in May 2017.

Now that the sign has been operational for a few months, Ms. Redeker says they would like to see it used more by community groups, who may not be aware it is for public use.

“It’s not an advertising board, it is a message board. Everything from fire bans to the Christmas parade or all of those community functions,” she lists. “(It’s for) anything that might stimulate the economic benefit of the community, rather than just an individual store.”

While the sign is located at AG Valley Foods, owner Eric LaPointe emphasizes it is a community message board. The LaPointe family gave up some of their own advertising space to accommodate the new digital sign, going from their former six slots to four slots.

“It’s supposed to be a community board to support community information, community events,” says Mr. LaPointe. “We agreed to it because we wanted to do it for the community.”

Ms. Redeker says the sign ended up being a $40,000 project including time and hard costs. Contributors to the board, financial or otherwise, included Columbia Valley Community Foundation, Columbia Valley Youth Soccer, DTSS PAC, The Judo Club, Royal Canadian Legion, the Regional District of East Kootenay, the Masonic Lodge, the Rotary Club, Max Helmer Construction, and the District of Invermere.

The sign went live in the early summer of 2018.

The District of Invermere volunteered to take on the operation of the sign once it was completed. They are still working out how to best display information, which some Rotary members have noted is not always easy to read depending on the number of words and colours used in the message. Kindry Luyendyk, Corporate Officer for the District, says they are working on some policies around the sign, and on how to input the information so it is displayed well on the sign. To get your event posted on the board, email or phone the District of Invermere at 250-342-9281.

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