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Lee Building victory unleashes city to go after other billboards

February 25th, 2009 · 8 Comments

After years of court battles between the owners of the Lee Building and the city over the billboard on the top of the building, the city finally won last year. The sign at Broadway and Main has been getting slowly dismantled since then.

Now, with that out of the way, city staff are ready to go after other rooftop-billboard sinners. The buildings at 1880 Main and 2950 Granville, which have had their billboards up since the 1950s, are next in their sights. Along with that, staff are also laying out a program to oversee the removal of 313 other “non-conforming” billboards — those that are too close to residential buildings or SkyTrain lines.

The staff report going to council next week outlines the history of the anti-billboard trends in city, which started back in the 60s, resulting in a much stricter new policy in 1970.

I wonder when Chilliwack and the rulers of the land next to the road to the Tsawwassen ferry will get the same kind of billboard religion. For now, it’s like driving through a giant Yellow Pages advertising section out there.

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  • Paul

    Greater Vancouver is one of the most billboard-free Metros in North America. Removing 50% of the existing stock in the city is sure to cause a raucus among marketing types.

    Note that Chilliwack and Tsawwassen boards on both on Native land. Hello Burrard and Lion’s Gate Bridges!

    The signage debate is an interesting one, as smaller-scale signage is a major traffic-driver for small businesses but it is reviled by local residents; these are often the same residents who oppose big box stores. How will that work?

  • not running for mayor

    Personally I applaud this, while I tend to be pro-business I can’t stand billboards. I think those billboards just past Brittania Beach degrade the drive along the sea-to-sky highway. I think technology will find a way to replace billboards anyways, the google/facebook generation will bombard us within our own home just like TV does. It’ll be quite a turn of events that we’ll have to go outside to avoid advertisements.

  • hohoho

    Why do people who live here, in a big city, hate everything that big cities are about? If you want to live like they do in the suburbs, move to the suburbs. Advertising billboards are part of every big city in the world. But of course, Vancouver has to be “different.”

    This whole things smacks of socialism run amok.

  • CV

    It’s great the way the city goes after billboards like this. It’s one thing I always notice in sprawly places like southern Florida – just how much the ugly billboards ruin the landscape.

    That being said, I think a lot of people wouldn’t object if they loosened up the rules at Granville and Robson. That one intersection could be turned into a Piccadilly Circus type display of advertising.

  • alan

    Can they git rid of the billboards plastering the sides of buses and the skytrain too?

  • coldwater

    Billboards are a part of every big city? Not the ones I visit–and who really cares what other cities do. We don’t live in “other” cities, we live in this one. The values of most Vancouverites is for clear views of our beautiful mountains and water, not car and liquor ads

  • jaymac

    Don’t staff at the City have higher priorities these days? Reading the Vancouver Sun series on how poorly served we are by most people in parking enforcement, maybe we should move the tenacious billboard hounds into parking enforcement and they’d generate some positive income for the City. This would help pay the severance of all the non-performers! Of course a lot more money could be earned if enforcement is privatized.

    I don’t like the billboards either, but they aren’t littered around the City in the same way as our major hwys. Time will take care of most of them.

  • SV

    “socialism run amok” lol. And where’s LP to complain about the owners of the Lee Building choosing to disregard the law? 🙂