Nelson city council is taking steps towards dealing with the large number of sandwich boards that line Baker Street.
An amended Sandwich Board Policy was introduced at last week’s city council meeting after the Nelson Downtown Business Association and the city teamed up to tackle the problem surrounding unapproved signs.
“It’s a step forward,” said councillor Deb Kozak. “Whenever we make a policy it is about enforcement and it is about compliance.”
According to an inventory done by city staff in April, of the 100 signs reviewed only seven had an approval sticker from the City.
Councillor Bob Adams asked if having a bylaw around sandwich boards would be easier to enforce than a policy.
City manager Kevin Cormack said a bylaw would require fines whereas with the policy the City will remove signs that aren’t in compliance.
In February 2006, a visitor and tourism assessment known as the Roger Brooks Report suggested that Nelson remove all of the sandwich boards.
“We get reports all the time,” said Kozak. “In this case it came back to the community and they said ‘actually we really like our sandwich boards.’”
The policy includes guidelines about the number of signs, sign placement, dimensions, materials and design.
Businesses are required to pay a $55 application fee before their sign receives approval and upon approval they be given a sticker which is intended to be put on the sign.
Cormack said if a business changes a sign they will have to re-apply and receive approval.
“What we need is balance once again,” said Kozak. “If there are 50 sandwich boards on one corner then I’m not sure that that is a good thing, but lets have some regulation around how that works and have the businesses be able to advertise but in a way that isn’t obstructing street traffic or those kinds of things.”