Town councillors were chomping at the bit to spend another $250,000 to further enhance the finish of the 4th Ave. retaining wall that's part of the realignment project now underway.
The upgrade would see a barn wood-type material incorporated with the word "Cochrane" in a powder-coated steel material with accent backlighting.
The quarter-million dollar expenditure would be in addition to the $1.5 million already approved by council in the town's 2022-24 budget. The additional funds would come out of reserve should it proceed, town corporate services executive director Katherine Van Keimpama told council.
Pinky De La Cruz, the town's engineering and asset services director, presented a series of options to enhance the finish of the retaining wall at last night's committee-of-the-whole meeting. It's a significant wall 100m in length and at its peak nine metres in height.
Based on the enthusiasm expressed by the majority of councillors, Mayor Jeff Genung wants to see the funding put in place before the 2023 budget deliberations get underway so it's not lost in the discussions.
"It's not very often we get to build a project of this significance and to take it to not just the bare minimum is something I've been advocating for years in Cochrane," said Genung. "We do a good job of delivering functional projects to our community but then often I find we stop short in some of the "nice to haves" that really would make a project something we could be proud of--I love how you phased that Councillor Nagel."
"I think it's great," said Nagel. "I think when people come into Cochrane it will speak to a community that people are proud to be part of, not just a town on the side of the road that you're rolling through."
Councillor Alex Reed, who also favoured the idea, pointed out the Banff sign has become the number one attraction in that tourist town.
Other options included a modern design with sandblasted graphics using a standard cost-in-place concrete wall, various other takes with a modern take on Cochrane's Western Heritage theme, and one using rocks in baskets in the lower and overall portion of the wall. The rock option was not thoroughly explored due to concerns over material and maintenance costs.
The proposal will be coming back to town council for formal consideration soon.