Editorial: Billboards? A cautious 'yes'

With a careful plan, billboards can be an effective revenue generator and communications tool

Should the city of Coquitlam get into the billboard business? Yes, but with some caveats.

As one of the later entries to the market — New Westminster and Port Coquitlam already allow billboards, generating cash for community amenities — Coquitlam council should work to get the best deal possible for taxpayers.

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It shouldn’t sign on the dotted line without a careful assessment of the pros and cons as well as the types of images. After all, we’re giving away public airspace.

For example, static images could be acceptable but not videos or moving images that could be distracting to drivers. And advertising messages should be subject to community standards — no racist, offensive or outrageously provocative political ads — while the infrastructure itself should be attractive.

Finally, the city should ensure taxpayers reap financial benefits, including the opportunity to post important message for residents.

It’s true billboards have a bad rap for creating visual clutter. But with an eye to getting the best deal, including financial benefits, the city should end the ban and put a request for proposals out for bid.

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