A “miscommunication” is being blamed for nearly 300 advertising placards cropping up along the length of the White Rock pier Friday.
Director of leisure services Eric Stepura said he was alerted to the issue Friday morning, when the city received a complaint.
While he confirmed the city had authorized some advertising on the pier by sponsors of the weekend’s Moon Festival, the extent allowed was misunderstood.
“What was agreed to was, we’d allow advertising signage at the entranceway,” Stepura told Peace Arch News, referring to the area at the pier head, from the railway tracks to the first decorative arch. “I think it’s just miscommunication.”
The majority of the placards were removed or relocated to the permitted area in time for the festival’s opening ceremonies, which got underway at 6 p.m. and included remarks from dignitaries, a performance by soprano Cristina Zhang and the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
Thousands turned out over three days to take in the second annual event, for which red lanterns hung from the pier arches added a festive glow to the evenings.
Stepura described the advertising hitch as frustrating, but noted it’s not unusual for high-level event sponsors to be afforded such temporary permissions. The city received more than $50,000 in corporate sponsorships, he said.
One White Rock resident said she was appalled to see the advertising when she and two friends went for their morning walk Friday.
Karen Clark described the decorative lanterns as “beautiful,” but said the city should not have agreed to any advertising along the structure – particularly for businesses outside of White Rock.
The majority of placards stapled along the railing and affixed to the lamp posts advertised LLW Holdings Ltd.’s Newport at West Beach development, to be built at the corner of Marine Drive and Oxford Street; there were also signs advertising two Richmond-based businesses.
“I just don’t think it’s fair,” Clark said, noting it only adds to the ongoing struggles of Marine Drive merchants to stay afloat.
“Everybody thought the lanterns were beautiful, but not the advertising, and especially not for Richmond.”
Friday evening, unused placards could be seen stacked under or beside vendor tables that were set up in the parking lot adjacent to the White Rock Museum.
Festival events and activities – organized by the city, the Vancouver-White Rock Chinese Arts Center and the Canadian Alliance Chinese Association – continued through Sunday.