Stayte Road store operator Marlene Ursulak shows one of the ice cream cone signs that is too big under White Rock city regulations.

Stayte Road store operator Marlene Ursulak shows one of the ice cream cone signs that is too big under White Rock city regulations.

Sign rules frustrate business owner

White Rock city, merchant, clash over sidewalk sandwich boards

The owner of the Green Source Merchant store in White Rock has been ordered to remove sandwich board signs from her location at 991 Stayte Rd.

The decision by the City of White Rock ends months of lobbying by Marlene Ursulak for permission to place signs closer to the curb to advertise her organic corner store.

Ursulak has been putting out chest-high signs with pictures of ice cream cones and a brief message advertising her organic coffee to get drivers to pull in.

Without the visibility the signs provide, she is not optimistic about the future of her business.

“I’m just not making it,” Ursulak says. “I’m struggling. I need to advertise my products.”

She says the problem is the former convenience store she leases is set back from the street and hard to see from Stayte.

By the time a passing driver notices her store, she says, they’ve already gone past her.

“They don’t need to drive all the way downtown to get a good cup of coffee,” Ursulak says. “And the parking is free.”

She says the people she has spoken to at city hall have been polite but unwilling to bend.

City of White Rock director of development services Paul Stanton says allowing the signs would require the city to amend the existing sign bylaw, either changing it for the entire city or limiting the change to Ursulak’s business.

Either way would set a precedent, Stanton says, and city council has discussed the matter and decided against it.

“We’ve been very patient,” Stanton told Peace Arch News Tuesday. “I have some sympathy for Mrs. Ursulak, but you get to the point where you have to deal with it.”

Stanton agrees that the store setback is less than ideal, calling it “a difficult site”

“She has a type of business that would be better sited in a commercial area where there is walk-in traffic,” Stanton says.

He adds that White Rock sign regulations were tightened about a year-and-a-half ago to quell out-of-control sandwich board signs that had become what he describes as a “pedestrian hazard” in some locations.

Ursulak does have other options for signage, Stanton says, including placing one on the building itself, but they all would be more expensive than the sandwich boards.

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