Ferry hill signs get another month’s stay of execution as Trust seeks balanced solution

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, May 12 2015

Warren Dingman, Bylaw Enforcement Officer for the Islands Trust, reported to the Gabriola Trust Committee that there are four open files for signage on Gabriola currently.

Three involve signs along North Road and the ferry hill.

There is a fourth file that involves an off-island business which Dingman says has put up “a lot of signs around the island, in seven locations.

“With that fourth, the business has signs which exceed the number that are allowed on island. Each business is allowed two.”

In terms of the signs on ferry hill, Dingman said there are a couple of issues aside from the fact the signs are contravening the Trust Land Use Bylaw.

“There are multiple businesses; at one point in time there were 15. 

“Some of those have now gone out of business, so they are no longer relevant. Other businesses that have them there wish to keep them there. However, they exceed the size limit for a third-party sign. They are also exceeding the number of signs they are allowed. “And business signs are to be on their lot for advertising.”

Some of the files on the signage were opened in 2012/2013 and have gone unresolved (for reasons unexplained by Dingman) for the past three years. He said businesses are looking for a solution for that location and it may be an issue to be taken up by the Gabriola Chamber and the Transportation Ministry.

Dingman said it could be possible for the Chamber to work with businesses and set up a variance with the Trust to allow something to still be in that location.

“But there have been multiple complaints about those signs. 

“There are residents who do wish to see those come down. They don’t wish to see them there, they see those as a blight, saying it looks disorganized and not nice for people to see coming off the ferry.”

He said there has also, since a crackdown in 2012, been a return of sandwich boards on the roadway on ferry hill.

“Most of the businesses with the sandwich boards have exceeded the signage already on their property.”

Trustee Melanie Mamoser asked how many complaints have been registered against the ferry hill signs.

Dingman said there were two complaints, as well as one for the sandwich boards.

An extension has been given to businesses with signs on ferry hill to have them brought into compliance with the Land Use Bylaw by June 15.

The Trustees said with more information coming from bylaw enforcement and other staff, there may be consideration of a signage committee with Trust staff, Chamber representation and other business members of the Gabriola committee to look at a longer term solution.

Until then, bylaw enforcement will hold off on any further action against the existing signs on ferry hill.

In another thread, BC Hydro was contacted to ask about signage which is put up on the hydro poles around the island.

As has been reported previously by Gabriola media, the strictest rule is there are to be no posters, signs or other objects attached to hydro poles, which are the property of BC Hydro. Ted Olynyk, media representative for BC Hydro, confirmed that if crews were to go around the island, they will take all signs down (not just the ones for businesses which are no longer operating). As for the ones advertising for defunct or otherwise non-functioning businesses, Olynyk said, “Were a member of the public to just go around and take signs down we would never know.”