(Advocate file photo).

Red Deer city council will seek public input on portable signage March 4

Council gave initial approval to retaining 100-metre separation distance

Despite objections from a local sign company, Red Deer city council stuck to its guns on a 100-metre separation distance for portable signs.

With multiple businesses sharing common space in strip malls, Marty Curtis, of Red Deer Magnetsigns Ltd., said these distance rules would preclude many businesses from being able to use portable signs.

But the city’s planning services director Tara Lodewyk said new rules would only allow a business to have a portable sign out for 90 days — after that, it can’t have one for 30 days.

This allows a neighbouring business to apply for its turn to put out a portable sign.

She noted that council already benefitted local businesses by lifting a previous fee on temporary sign permits.

Red Deer city council heard that 20- and 50-metre distances were reviewed, but administration stuck to recommending the 100-metre separation between portable signs because it wants to encourage merchants to invest in permanent signage.

Portable signs should only be used to advertise special promotions, said Lodewyk. They should not become a regular thing for any business.

Coun. Ken Johnston noted that driving into Edmonton from the south shows what “visual blight” can occur from a proliferation of portable signage. City Manager Craig Curtis maintains Red Deer’s limits on portable signs has had a positive effect on the appearance of the Gaetz Avenue commercial strip.

All councillors except Frank Wong voted for first reading of the portable sign bylaw. Wong had argued for a shorter separation distance.

But Lodewyk noted there are many other kinds of temporary signage that merchants can opt for, including sandwich boards and flag and banner signs.

A public hearing on the bylaw will be held March 4 at city hall.


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