White Rock bylaw officers will not enforce regulations regarding banners until at least April 1, council has decided.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin proposed the moratorium last week, following concerns expressed by the city’s Business Improvement Association.
BIA executive director Sherri Wilson Morissette raised the matter with Baldwin this month, after learning managers of Charlie Don’t Surf on Marine Drive had been told a banner hanging on the establishment’s railing was violating the city’s sign bylaw. City staff said they needed a permit to hang it, and even then it could hang for only up to 28 days, Tracy Gass and Arun Fryer told Peace Arch News.
While a city official had told PAN that the BIA was consulted on the bylaw before it took effect last January, Wilson Morissette disputed the extent of that consultation.
“The majority of the consultation focused on the sandwich-board part of the bylaw and we were not made aware of this banner restriction,” Wilson Morissette said. “It affects the promotions and activities that the BIA does to help the businesses in White Rock.”
Last week, former-councillor Margaret Woods raised the issue during council’s question period. Woods wanted to know why the city would charge businesses extra “because they put a little sign up.”
In suggesting the moratorium, Baldwin acknowledged that many business owners “don’t have time to think about participating” in consultation opportunities, such as those that were held regarding the sign bylaw.
“When the rubber hit the road, all of a sudden their attention got yanked,” he said.
Baldwin told Peace Arch News prior to council’s decision that it was an issue “we’re definitely going to take a look at.”
“We understand the concerns the business owners have and we’re prepared to take action.”
Council supported the moratorium unanimously.