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Billboard Sign ByLaw Debate takes intermission to help Girl's Hockey get ice time on City Rinks

Submitted by on Tuesday December 1, 2009 – 5:19 pm | No Comment
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Twitpic of Sign ByLaw debate from Councillor Joe Mihevc.

By HiMY SYeD

Debate has been raging between the Billboard Industry advocates and everyone else in a packed council chambers all afternoon about a proposed by-law. That debate is on hold to deal with the matter of girl’s hockey getting ice time at City rinks.

Depending on that matter being resolved tonight or not, the Sign Bylaw debate will either continue tonight or Wednesday afternoon.

Until then, here is summary from Councillor Adam Vaughan’s latest newsletter to explain this whole billboard issue from his and many of his constituent’s view.

New Billboard Sign By-law & Update

The City of Toronto’s ambitious program to create a new sign by-law that sets out a city wide standard to regulate permanent signs (outdoor advertising) is finally before City Council this afternoon.

Sign types regulated by this new by-law will include:

  1. fascia and wall signs
  2. free-standing signs
  3. advertising billboards.

    Since Toronto’s amalgamation in 1998, sign by-laws of former municipalities had been grandfathered in and is what we were stuck with until today.

    There has been much debate over how the City should regulate this type of signage, what the fees should be and how they should be collected.

    For Councillor Vaughan, the key points of the debate are that :

    • The City has a responsibility to bring a renegade industry under control, by regulating placement, size and types of signage within the public realm; and
    • Residents should not be forced to pay for this through tax increases, but rather that the industry itself, can and should, finance the costs of administering and monitoring the industry.

      The fees that are being proposed are essentially a tax on a specific industry that will pay for the costs to the City of licensing and monitoring a specific industry.

      Councillor Vaughan also believes that any excess revenues from the proposed billboard licensing fees, if there are in fact any excess revenues, could be applied to residential tax reductions or sustaining the City’s support for the arts community.

      Beautiful City, Billboard Free Campaign info

      BeautifulCity.ca is a city building initiative that aims to beautify, democratize and diversify access to public space, and in turn — hold companies investing in billboard advertising accountable for their impact on shared spaces through an annual license fee.  The Beautiful City Alliance is comprised of more than 70 community based groups and arts organizations, that are working together to advocate for a Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF).

      The Beautiful City Billboard Fee (BCBF) would see a charge paid by billboard advertisers through an annual license fee.

      Revenue would be dedicated to bylaw enforcement and art in the public sphere. A priority would be placed on funding marginalized communities and youth art and distributed through arms-length or peer jury processes.

      Specific objectives of the BCBF include:

      • Urban beautification & employment for artists
      • More funding for tracking & policing billboard advertisers
      • Helping move Toronto towards a pedestrian focused aesthetic
      • Promoting community ownership of public spaces
      • Diversifying access to public communication

        In Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina, neighbourhood residents have submitted 500 postcards and letters and called in their support to Councillor Adam Vaughan for the Beautiful City, Billboard Free Campaign.

        Intermission

        We’ll post an update if there are any developments tonight.

        Twitpic of Sign ByLaw debate in Council Chambers this afternoon from Councillor Joe Mihevc.

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