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Businesses' banners backed in White Rock
Proposed amendments to loosen restrictions for White Rock businesses wanting to hang banners have been given a thumbs-up – but only just.
Council voted 4-3 to give the changes – which include an increase in the number of banners allowed per year and a decrease in the per-banner cost of hanging them – first, second and third reading at the April 2 meeting. Couns. Larry Robinson, Mary-Wade Anderson and Grant Meyer all opposed moving the amendments forward to a final vote scheduled for April 16.
Robinson told Peace Arch News last month that he wants to see banners prohibited altogether. Describing them as "trashy," he noted that beach towns from Bellingham to West Vancouver don't allow them, and questioned why White Rock does.
Monday, Robinson reiterated his opposition, describing allowing them as like turning the city's signature attraction into "the equivalent of my grandmother's farm on wash day, bless her soul."
He argued that allowing banners of up to 32 square feet to abut a heavily used 6.2-foot-wide sidewalk is a liability issue for the city; and, that an amendment allowing the White Rock Business Improvement Association to apply for additional opportunities to promote events benefiting multiple businesses is granting that organization a "discriminatory power."
"The nature of business is to be entrepreneurial with a level playing field and we're not providing a level playing field," Robinson said. "That's why I'm saying, no banners."
Asked by Coun. Helen Fathers how many accidents attributed to banners have occurred in the city, Paul Stanton, the city's director of planning and development services, said he isn't aware of any.
Banner regulations became an issue last fall, after city officials began enforcing permit requirements that were incorporated into the city's sign bylaw in January 2011 following a review.
Stanton said Monday the seven or eight tickets that were issued as a result were all cancelled when a moratorium on enforcement was called to review the concerns.
Coun. Al Campbell said enforcement of installation, maintenance and permit rules will be key moving forward. Those are all issues the BIA will be educating its members on, Stanton said.