Council looked at the results of the portable sign survey at the Stettler town council meeting on Tuesday, June 17.
A survey was conducted in 2010 with 67 respondents, and the number of respondents increased to 340 in this year’s survey. Both in 2010 and this year, those asked were overwhelmingly in favour of portable signs, with 86 per cent in 2010 and 81 per cent this year. An overwhelming majority also favours portable signs on town property such as road allowances and rights of way.
The numbers were close when respondents were asked whether the $40 application fee for a commercial portable sign permit was reasonable, with 57 percent saying yes in the 2010 study as compared 50 per cent in this year’s research.
Three quarters of respondents in 2010 and this year’s questionnaire say that signs advertising non-profit, sporting, agricultural, cultural and political events should be exempt from the fee.
The numbers remained fairly comparable in both studies with regard to the question on whether a time limit should be imposed on the use of portable signs, with the number of positive responses increasing from 50 per cent in 2010 to 57 per cent this year. Around 70 per cent of respondents in the latest survey said two 60- day periods per calendar year on the same parcel of land wasn’t a reasonable time limit, and 61 per cent of respondents said there should be no limit.
About 50 per cent of respondents in both studies said it was best to allow only one portable sign per parcel of land, and the number of people who are in favour of third party advertising went down slightly from 64 per cent in 2010 to 57 per cent in 2014. This year, 64 per cent of respondents believe that sign permits being treated separately from development permits is a reasonable process, which is up from 55 per cent in 2010.
Overall, this year there were 44 comments in favour of portable signs, 67 comments against portable signs, and 75 comments in favour of portable signs with increased or additional regulations.
Council said that while most businesses followed the rules, some did not, which made the portable sign survey a necessity.
“It’s happening right now in a sort of lawless scenario,” said CAO Greg Switenky.
“If everyone followed the rules, there would be no problem,” Mayor Dick Richards added.
The town has a policy in place that mowing boulevards is the responsibility of the adjacent property-owner. Marlene Hanson made a request to council that since the boulevard by her property is much larger than the average boulevard, the town take responsibility for mowing it. She went to Lee Penner, director of parks and leisure services, and Leann Graham, director of planning and development. Both agreed that the mowing was Hanson’s responsibility, but that she could go to council with the problem. Coun. Malcolm Fischer looked at the property and agreed that it was not fair to make her mow the area.
While the boulevard is large, there are boulevards similar in size and larger to the one in question.
“It is on the large side, but we’ve always been insistent that adjacent property maintains the boulevard,” Switenky said.
Council made a motion to uphold the current policy, which was passed with Fischer opposed.
Grace Fix of the Heartland Beautification Committee was nominated as an Earth Day Hometown Heroes award recipient, and was named one of two national finalists.
“I am very honoured and humbled by the nomination,” she said in a letter to council. “The best part is that the community I live in believes that environmental stewardship is important work.”