Debate on the proposed billboard tax spilled over from yesterday’s city council session into today’s meeting, and the city is warning that it may continue into tomorrow as well.
The sign by-law proposes to harmonize the rules for billboards across the city (something that was never accomplished post-amalgamation), banning rooftop billboards and the largest billboards, and imposes a fee on all billboards in the city (fee ranges depending on the size and technology of the sign), which would be used in part to enforce the law. Because at present, it doesn’t appear that anyone does.
The remainder of the fee would be used to beautify the city and support arts and culture events. Seems like a fair trade-off to me. After all, everywhere else in life, advertisements are meant to sponsor entertainment. They don’t and shouldn’t just appear out of nowhere as an expected part of the landscape. Much of the art/beautification money is to be targetted to the city’s 13 priority (poor) neighbourhoods, which is good, but money will also be set aside for each ward. Perhaps with the additional money, the Church Street BIA could get on with plans to improve the Village streetscape and build proper gateways to the hood? Particularly with Maple Leaf Gardens reopening at Carlton St, the time seems ripe for a grand southern entrance welcoming visitors to the gaybourhood.