An Okotoks resident is trying to preserve the old wooden signs that have welcomed people into Okotoks for decades.

Late last year, work began to install new electronically-lit solar-powered signs at the town's three major entrances.

Part of the contract for the installers included the older signs being disposed of.

The decision came after the town valuated the old signs via their asset inventory management system, which was utilized in salvaging the D'Arcy Homestead.

Mayor Tanya Thorn says it's never the town's instinct to throw things away, but some assets just don't hold significant value.

"It's no different from a car. In essence, we all asset manage a car, right? We change the tires, put air in the tire, we get oil changes, we do regular maintenance with hopes of extending the life of the car as much as possible. It's the exact same thing with our municipality with our assets. We want to make sure we're maintaining them appropriately, we're identifying concerns and issues so that we can extend the life of every asset we have to its full potential."

When it comes to the signs, Thorn says they were determined to be at 'end of life,' where there wasn't much to salvage or repurpose.

Upon hearing the news, Okotokian Leah Koski was dismayed and started an online petition to keep them.

The petition has gotten over 300 signatures, and Koski says people seem to share her sentiment.

"The signs are over 40 years old, everybody has a real connection to the signs, they're part of our history. It is nice to get upgrades and things like that but it's also important to retain our history, so I think it was very important to a lot of people."

Koski is currently the vice president of the Okotoks Historical Society, though the petition and her other efforts to preserve the signs are not affiliated with the group.

She also reached out to the town with a formal request, offering to arrange restoration and storage for the signs.

"Mayor Tanya Thorn, she replied that she was very happy that somebody is as interested in restoring or saving the history of Okotoks as she is, so that is very encouraging. Then it more went towards how we're going to do this, not if we're going to do it."

Now her focus is no longer on the petition, but is instead aimed at securing the signs and arranging for their restoration.

There are a few more considerations the town would like answers to first before handing them over, says Thorn, including how they'll be used in the future.

"Obviously those things have the Town of Okotoks corporate image and our brand, so that's a key piece in the evaluation of where they go, those are critical pieces for us in terms of how those signs would be used, could be used, because of the fact that it reflects our organization."

It's something that has come up in conversations between Koski and the town.

She says there are currently a few routes she's looking at taking, but the current priority is stopping their disposal.

"We don't have an actual plan for them, at this point we're just willing to save them from going to the landfill and then we're going to decide from there. We've been in talks with local artists and some different ideas for what to do with them. We do want to restore at least one of them but we do have to get them first and have someone look at the conditions and how much is involved in restoring, and go from there."

Koski also told the town that she'd make sure to gain approval from the town when it comes to how the signs are used/displayed.

She's been in contact with a craftsman who will be able to assess their condition and what it will take to restore them.

For storage, Koski has offered to use a facility of her own that's coincidentally pretty close to the landfill.

There's been no confirmation as of yet that the signs will be turned over to her, but Koski is feeling optimistic after talking with the town.