Ottawa Citizen

Billboard signs key to land deal

- BY KATIE DAUBS

A committee decision to remove several billboards along Riverside Drive could threaten the long-awaited Limebank Road expansion, said Councillor Maria McRae.

Ms. McRae said that the city and the Ottawa Internatio­nal Airport Authority have a “substantia­l contractua­l agreement” that ensured the city received airport-owned land for the widening on the condition that the airport’s billboards, an important revenue stream, would be moved to new spots nearby.

To accommodat­e the billboards with the road widening, city council’s planning staff recommende­d that the required setback from the property line be reduced from two metres to zero metres, leaving the signs in place right by the road. But committee members voted against that recommenda­tion Tuesday evening, which effectivel­y means that the billboards will have to come down entirely.

Ms. McRae said Paul Benoît, chief executive of the airport authority, told her the city would be in breach of its obligation­s, and that the transfer of land would be in jeopardy, should that happen.

She said the informatio­n about the contractua­l agreement wasn’t in the report that committee members voted on Tuesday night,

“It’s not a misunderst­anding, it’s an oversight, and its one that staff are correcting,” Ms. McRae said.

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