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Invercargill youth councillor Danielle Carson at the signage at the East Rd entrance to the city.

Oamaru has ornately carved 3D stone signs marking its approaches; Bluff has a rustic metal and wood welcome.

Now Invercargill youth councillors have decided it is time for dull signage at the city’s main entrances to be replaced with something brighter and more striking.

Youth councillor Danielle Carson (18) said the aim was to give Invercargill’s East Rd and Makarewa entrances an identity and demonstrate the city was a creative place to live and visit.

The Southland Girls’ High School pupil said it was also hoped the signs would become a tourist attraction in their own right, with people stopping to look at and photograph them.

The project began about a year ago, she said.

The distinctive Oamaru stone sign at the southern entrance to Oamaru.
The distinctive Oamaru stone sign at the southern entrance to Oamaru.

A select committee was established to come up with ideas to make the city more vibrant, more exciting, and more attractive, and one idea which emerged was that entranceway signage did not reflect the future Invercargill.

“It is somewhat dull and unappealing… and not artistically inspiring. When you see amazing signage like Oamaru or Dunedin, ours don’t look that amazing. They are literally tin signs.”

Over several months the youth councillors wrote a report which said new signs were needed which were simple and bold, used materials which “said Invercargill”, looked good, were able to survive all weathers, and preferably could be illuminated at night.

The signs needed to create a positive and exciting first impression, and be a unique image which would still be relevant in 10 years.

After new signs at the entrances, the youth councillors wanted cohesive signage throughout the city, Danielle said.

She and fellow youth councillor Jack Shaw presented the idea to Invercargill city councillors recently and were pleased with the positive response.

“They decided to vote it through, so eventually it might happen.”

ICC community development manager Mary Napper said the next step was for a council-youth council steering committee to be established to progress the idea. That would not happen until fter the local body elections next month.

Although designs were not being sought yet, Ms Napper invited people with feedback or ideas to email youth.council@icc.govt.nz.

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