Should electronic billboards be allowed in Coquitlam?

Council considers proposals from several companies

The city of Coquitlam is asking residents to share their thoughts on electronic billboards. 

Residents have until Sept. 16 to provide feedback at coquitlam.ca/billboards as part of a survey that will guide council and staff as they consider whether the signs should be permitted in certain parts of the city. 

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The issue came up at a committee meeting last month when staff said they had been approached by advertising companies seeking permission to construct billboards in the municipality. 

Pattison Outdoor has proposed putting an electronic sign at Barnet Highway and Johnson Street, and at Lougheed Highway and Brunette Avenue.

Van Horne Outdoor, which a staff report said is a joint venture involving CP Rail and advertising company All Vision Canada, is considering three locations on CP Rail property, including Highway 1 westbound at Blue Mountain Street; Highway 1 westbound at Schoolhouse Street; and near Lougheed and Barnet.

In the survey, the city is asking residents to consider appropriate locations, maximum size and design standards. Participants will also look at the financial and community benefits that could come from advertising. 

This is not the first time the advertising industry has pushed council to look into allowing third-party billboards, which are currently prohibited under the city’s sign bylaw. In 2013, recommendations were put forward by staff that would allow signs in three locations in south Coquitlam near Highway 1 and the Lougheed Highway. Council at the time voted against the changes. 

Most of the recommendations the city is currently considering come from a 2013 report, including imposing separation distances of 1,000 m between signs and ensuring they are at least 150 m from residential-zoned property and 50 m from commercial or civic institutional-zoned properties. 

Under the recommendations, if signs are permitted, they could be a maximum height of 8.6 m and maximum width of 7.5 m, and changeable digital signs would have to be fixed to a minimum of 10-second intervals. Video advertising would not be permitted under the bylaw changes. 

The discussion is being welcomed by Paul Lee, the leasing manager with Pattison Outdoor. He said companies like his can offer benefits to the community, like sharing advertising space with the city to make sure that community messages get out to residents.

“I think it is time,” he said after last month’s committee meeting. “The technology has changed a lot.”

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

@gmckennaTC

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