Merritt is a little behind the times when it comes to highway signage.

The signs along the Merritt Highway will soon resemble the rest in the province, and in the world.

The existing highway signs currently promote local businesses which help the local businesses but they don’t match international standards for highway signage.

The signs are expected to be replaced on Aug. 31 with international symbol signs by the Department of Highways and will no longer include business endorsements.

“They’ll just be symbols,”said Heather Fader, executive director of the Merritt Chamber of Commerce.

“These international symbols are used worldwide, so when we have international tourists they will recognize them.”

They will be general logos to identify services available in Merritt including gas stations, restaurants, hotels and others.

“Merritt’s one of the last areas to do it in B.C.,” Fader said.

Although the Department of Highways deems it necessary, Fader said local businesses still need to be advertised to entice travelers into Merritt.

“If they don’t know that they’re there, they won’t look for them,” she said.

It’s the reason why the Chamber of Commerce is proposing to lease land from private landowners near the highway to build signs advertising local businesses.

“It’s local exposure so the businesses benefit from tourists,” she said.

The Chamber already has one sign located on private land a kilometre before the visitor centre on the right-hand side coming into Merritt.

There are five businesses advertised on it.

Whether one sign or multiple signs go up depends on the interest, costs associated and land availability.

Fader is hoping local landowners will come forward or accept offers to put up signs on their property.

“We’re trying to find an ideal location,” she said.

The patch of land needed would not be very large – approximately four by 10 square feet.

Similar to the agreement for the existing sign, land would be negotiated with a lease and the landowner would be paid for the land.

Fader said the amount of signs would depend on interested businesses.

For anyone interested, contact Heather Fader at: 250-378-5634.