Phase-out of por­ta­ble signs urged in Kelowna

Pro­posed over­haul of city by­law would see por­ta­ble signs banned by 2019, height of all road­side signs re­duced

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By RON SEY­MOUR

Por­ta­ble signs could be on their way out in Kelowna. The mov­able signs — gar­ish to some and in­for­ma­tive to oth­ers — would be banned af­ter Jan. 1, 2019, un­der a pro­posal go­ing to city coun­cil on Mon­day.

As well, the max­i­mum height of all new road­side signs would be sig­nif­i­cantly low­ered, from eight me­tres to five me­tres, in a bid to make the city uniquely pretty.

“The draft by­law takes a strong stand on sig­nage size, plac­ing Kelowna firmly in the cat­e­gory of leader in re­duc­ing sig­nage size in the re­gion,” reads part of a re­port from the plan­ning depart­ment.

“By sub­stan­tially re­duc­ing free-stand­ing sign sizes, Kelowna may set it­self apart and be­gin to dis­tin­guish it­self stylis­ti­cally,” the re­port says.

An­other staff sug­ges­tion is to ban elec­tronic signs, ex­cept for use by cul­tural, recre­ational and in­sti­tu­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions for the pur­poses of pub­lic in­for­ma­tion.

A ma­jor pro­posed over­haul of the city’s sign by­law has been in the works for more than a year.

Through a con­sul­ta­tion process, about 600 sur­veys were filled out, but staff ac­knowl­edge the re­sponses can­not be said to be a sta­tis­ti­cally valid snap­shot of pub­lic opin­ion.

Still, the re­port says 40 per cent of re­spon­dents be­lieve Kelowna has the same amount of sig­nage as other cities.

Of the sur­vey re­spon­dents, about 40 per cent wanted less sig­nage, while 36 per cent said the ex­ist­ing amount of sig­nage is fine. About 20 per cent wanted more sig­nage.

Re­gard­ing por­ta­ble signs, the plan­ning depart­ment says they are a “sig­nif­i­cant” con­tri­bu­tion to ur­ban clut­ter and de­tract from the high-qual­ity build­ings the city tries to en­cour­age in new de­vel­op­ments.

The staff pro­posal is to limit por­ta­ble signs to com­mer­cial, pub­lic and in­sti­tu­tional zones ef­fec­tive Jan. 1, 2018, re­strict­ing them to ma­jor cor­ri­dors on June 1, 2018, and ban­ning them com­pletely the fol­low­ing Jan­uary.

Fees for por­ta­ble signs be­fore the ban takes ef­fect would also be in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly, from $30 up to, pos­si­bly, $200, the same as is charged in Kam­loops and Nanaimo.

Rev­enue from the in­creased por­ta­ble sign fee would help pay for a new by­law of­fi­cer, who would be tasked pri­mar­ily with en­forc­ing the re­stric­tions.

Daily Courier file photo

Por­ta­ble signs such as th­ese could be banned un­der a pro­posed ma­jor over­haul of Kelowna’s sign by­law.

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