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Plans for Giant Letters in Shelburne Park May Get Nixed


It looks like a decision on whether Shelburne will be getting giant letters may be coming earlier than some expected.

“It really, to me, just doesn’t fit the small town’s community feel and the charm that we’re trying to establish within the downtown core,” remarked Shelburne’s Councillor Kyle Fegan on the proposed project.

At Shelburne’s council meeting on May 31, Councillor Fegan made efforts to have the council halt the considerations of including additional lettering and signage in the redevelopment of Jack Downing Park. This follows some residents of the town voicing criticisms of the proposal. Comments posted to Facebook mention that this shouldn’t be a council ‘priority,’ there are better uses for the money that would be dedicated to the project, and the monument isn’t suitable to the park or the town.

Some just think it’s a bad idea. 

“The community has expressed severe concerns regarding this on social media, all over the place,” declared Councillor Kyle Fegan.

At the previous council meeting, Shelburne council last resolved to review the matter further and to have staff produce concept drawings showing different sizes and layouts of signage. These renderings could include variations of park placement and short-forms of the town’s name. Councillor Walter Benotto shared concerns with the size of the signage and how much of a footprint it would have on Jack Downing Park’s limited space.

“When I proposed the sign of Shelburne in the front, I wasn’t thinking we would have seven-foot-tall letters sitting there as that would obscure the park almost completely,” contended Councillor Benotto.

According to the staff report, the letters at Nathan Phillips Square are 9.8 feet tall, with the entire design spanning 72 feet. Toronto’s sign can be controlled via wi-fi and create approximately 228 million combinations of colour. The replacement costs for the monument, experienced in September 2020, were roughly $760,000. Collingwood’s sign, a more modest construction of the giant letter concept, was also shown in the document.

“I don’t feel that this is the appropriate time for spending this kind of money,” asserted Fegan.

Councillor Fegan explained that his comments during the Jack Downing conversation regarding not increasing any costs included whatever was required for the ‘light-up sign.’ It was emphasized that he did not want to ‘railroad the other important work that has to be down with Jack Downing,’ so he did not push the issue at the time.

At first, the councillor revealed intentions just to provide notice of the motion. When it came time to read the motion into the record, Fegan changed his request to have the council immediately consider removing the proposed lettering for Jack Downing Park.

“The idea that I want to have it dealt with tonight being that if we can save staff time and funds, we might as well deal with it now,” attested Councillor Fegan.

For Fegan’s motion to be reconsidered without prior notice, the town’s clerk Jennifer Willoughby confirmed that the unanimous consent of the Shelburne council would have been needed. 

Shelburne’s Mayor Wade Mills called for any objections.

“I’m not going to deal with it tonight,” uttered Benotto. “It’s 10:15, sorry.”

Denyse Morrissey, Chief Administrative Officer for the town, told the council that staff intended to have a report with concept plans and costing on the signage, accompanied by concept drawings of Jack Downing Park, for the June 14 meeting. Morrissey said this timing would allow for the park redevelopment to be completed by mid-September.

“We can argue that on the 14th then,” concluded Mills.

If a resident of Shelburne has inquiries or would like to make concerns on this (or any other) matter known, one can ensure it is on the record by submitting questions to council, or as correspondence related to agenda business, to the town’s clerk through the email The next council meeting is scheduled for June 14, 2021.  

References – Plans for Giant Letters in Shelburne Park May Get Nixed

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