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Public push for goodbye to town welcome signs

Thursday, 7th November, 2019

Deanna Spicer with one of her designs, a mining-themed Broken Hill welcome sign. PICTURE: Callum Marshall Deanna Spicer with one of her designs, a mining-themed Broken Hill welcome sign. PICTURE: Callum Marshall

A push for City Council to reconsider the designs of the Broken Hill welcome signs has gathered pace with support growing for five different designs by local Deanna Spicer. 

Since the designs were finalised in May, when the winner of council’s Gateway Signage Competition was announced, Ms Spicer has been advocating for council to consider using her designs to help promote the city instead.

But with the first of the welcome signs erected last week the conversation has grown, with strong support for Ms Spicer’s designs appearing on social media and from local businessman Peter Nash in Tuesday’s BDT.

Speaking to the BDT yesterday, Ms Spicer said many people had stated their support for her designs.

“The winning design has been produced and installed and a lot of people came to me and were supporting me in my designs,” she said.

“That really has opened up the conversation again about is it the best thing for Broken Hill to have five gateway signs that are exactly the same?”

Helping to better promote the city was a key part of the push, she said, with the designs centred on five key Broken Hill aspects: mining, unionism, arts and culture, pastoralists and the RFDS.

“By having five unique designs it gives Broken Hill and Broken Hill tourism five unique things to promote,” said Ms Spicer.

“Tourists can come to town and they can visit five different, separate sites and that could take them a full day.

“That could get them to stay in town longer and increase their visit by a day or two days.”

There was also potential benefits for advertising and social media exposure, she said.

“Not only is it just going out and having a look at the signs but also, because they are unique, it encourages people to take photos with the signs and post it on their social media.

“And that, in turn, is free advertising for Broken Hill. It really shows that there’s a lot to see and do here, and the history is so rich that it encourages people to visit.”

Ms Spicer has wrote an open letter to Mayor Darriea Turley and council’s General Manager James Roncon this week, stating that she was willing to give her designs to council as long as they appeared at Broken Hill’s five main entrances. 

As of yesterday afternoon, her Facebook post to Mayor Turley and Mr Roncon had received more than 360 reactions, 117 comments and 260 shares, all supporting the move.

Ms Spicer said the letter also discussed other initiatives which could complement the signs, such as an art trail.

“I put in my letter that you could have a brochure at the Tourist Information Centre with a map and people could drive around and see the signs,” she said.

When asked if she thought the push for a change was too late, Ms Spicer said it was something she’d been advocating for a while. 

“I’ve been trying since the winner was announced.

“I’ve been advocating for Broken Hill and Broken Hill tourism to get this right.

“It’s such a great opportunity.”

She also said it wasn’t too late for council to change its mind.

“They held a competition, they announced a winner and we’ve awarded that winner and council have done everything they’ve had to do - all the legalities around terms and conditions,” she said. 

“That’s all been fulfilled. To my knowledge the other four signs haven’t been produced. The budget should still be there to make them.

“The one that’s there doesn’t need to be removed, so we could still do five signs and have the fifth one on the Adelaide Road, up closer to the headframe.

“Or possibly, for now, look at producing four differing designs and installing four designs.

“I don’t think it’s too late to change the direction.”

Yesterday, a council spokesman said its decision was final, barring a vote from Councillors.

“All entrants agreed to the competition’s terms and conditions, stating that the judges’ decision was final,” he said.

“Any decision to change the design of the signs would need to be passed by Councillors.”

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