The entrance sign on the southern end of Warwick is hidden behind a line of trees to motorists travelling on the New England Highway from Stanthorpe.
The entrance sign on the southern end of Warwick is hidden behind a line of trees to motorists travelling on the New England Highway from Stanthorpe. Erin Smith

Signage issues have impact on tourism

COMPARED to Yangan's beautifully crafted sandstone sign - the string of billboards and signs no one can read on both the northern and southern entrances to Warwick leave a lot to be desired.

Warwick Tourism and Events CEO Tracy Vellacott said signage around the city's entry was an issue identified in the Southern Downs Regional Council's tourism strategy process.

It found lack of signage had a bigger impact than a few lost tourists.

"Jennifer identified that signage issues were contributing to under-performance of the region," Mrs Vellacott said.

"The strategy suggests council improve 'way-finding signage and interpretation- both of which have distinct value in allowing the visitor to truly connect with the Southern Downs'.

"Gateway beautification would enhance the appeal of the Warwick area to the travelling public and visitors and I agree that the other areas like Stanthorpe and Yangan are ahead of Warwick in terms of their visitor signage and appeal when driving in.

"I think the days of a big billboard announcing you have arrived at a destination have been replaced by the need for innovative statement signage that can fire up a visitor's imagination as to what they will find on entering the community, or give them a clear picture of the type of community they are entering."

Graham Buchner, who has spent many hours ensuring the entrances into Warwick are presentable, said there were plenty of options to increase signage around Warwick.

The first being to utilise the black sign, used to promote polocrosse events when they are on.

"I would like to see the sign promote Morgan Park, something with a jumping horse, a horse and rider playing polocrosse and a car," he said.

"Something pointing out Morgan Park Sports Complex."

Mr Buchner said it would be great to see the three big posts near Jackie Howe Drive utilised better as well.

"I would like a banner that reads Warwick- the horse power capital of Australia across the top," he said.

"The posts were put up by the State Government when the Olympic Torch relay came through Warwick."

Mr Buchner said promotion of the Tiddalik sculpture could also bring some tourists to the river.

Mrs Vellacott and Mr Buchner are not the only ones with ideas to spruce up the entrances.

In February last year Warwick resident Ann-Maree Cutmore presented a proposal to the council.

Her idea of building a 1.5m high sandstone sign spelling out the word Warwick was approved in principle.

The council asked for a further report to be carried out and a community consultation process.

None of which has happened.

But councillor Jamie Mackenzie said he hoped to include signage in the next budget.

"Welcoming entrance statements and iconic tourism signage was at the top of my 10 point campaign list in last year's election" he said.

"Although there are roads and drainage to fix and debts to address, entrance statements at each community across the region shows that Council cares.

"Fixing the roads and signage benefits every visitor and citizen in this region."

Cr Mackenzie said the signage should be replaced with something eye-catching, tasteful and coordinated whilst recognising the landscape differences between Warwick's sandstone features, the Granite Belt, Killarney's volcanic country and the black soil plains in between.

"We have an opportunity to do something inexpensive but exciting with design competitions for university students and joint ventures with the region's Chambers of Commerce and other community groups," he said.

We want to know what you think about the entrances around the Rose City.

Head to the Daily News Facebook page or phone reporter Erin Smith on 4660 1364 to share your thoughts.



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