A Vernon councillor has taken a bite out of the city’s sign bylaw on sandwich boards.
Brian Quiring was dumbfounded that the city would not allow the Schubert Centre to put up sandwich boards on its property advertising its thrift store or Bingo activity because an existing bylaw does not allow sandwich boards in the P3 private industrial zone, which is what the Schubert Centre is in.
“I’m sick and tired of talking about the sign bylaw,” said Quiring. “Can’t we do something right and say sandwich boards are considered portable signs? We need to start to simplify these bylaws instead of making them bigger and bigger and bigger.”
The Schubert Centre does have what is considered a freestanding, or portable, sign on its property, but the problem with it is that it takes a maintenance man to go out and change the information on the sign, located well above ground.
The Schubert Centre says it would be easier to haul out sandwich boards.
Quiring argued that sandwich boards are portable signs.
“You shouldn’t need a PhD in English to get a definition of a portable sign,” said Quiring. “If granny can pull out a sign that says ‘bingo today,’ and put it in front of the building, that’s a portable sign.”
Quiring drew support from Couns. Juliette Cunningham and Mary-Jo O’Keefe.
“The Schubert Centre has lots of land to place a sandwich board well-back,” said O’Keefe. “It’s a simple, inexpensive solution to help them generate more people.”
Clint Kanester, the city’s bylaw enforcement manager, said there were a couple of reasons why sandwich boards are restricted.
“One is aesthetics, or signage clutter,” he said. “And every time there is a movable or portable sign, more enforcement is required. If an organization is not getting enough visibility because of where the city said they must place their sign, they’ll put the sign on a sidewalk or parking lot, causing more issues.”
Cunningham said sandwich boards must not be placed in such a way to disrupt mobility issues, and Coun. Patrick Nicol added that consideration of people with sight issues must be contemplated.
O’Keefe said sandwich boards must not be placed so as to interfere with driving sight lines.
Council unanimously passed a motion presented by Cunningham to direct staff to bring forward the use of sandwich boards on public or private institutions, as well as placing a moratorium on enforcement of sandwich boards on P3 lands until such time their allowable use is included in the sign bylaw.
- Quiring didn’t stop with just sandwich boards.
He also wanted to increase the number of allowable banners that could hang at MacDonald Park on the fence at the intersection of 27th Street and 43rd Avenue, but with a catch.
“I would like to see us increase the banners to six, but add that the banner has to come down right after the conclusion of the event,” said Quiring.
Council unanimously passed a motion to allow six banners to hang but organizations will be required to remove the banner three days after its completion, regardless of whether there’s any time left on a 60-day permit issued.