Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

Town to review its regulations – public input being sought

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

How and where businesses (and others) can put up signs is a contentious issue; the Town of Slave Lake is launching a review of the regulations, which will involve the input of a yet-to-be-formed committee of largely public members.

But first, at its Nov. 6 meeting council got some background and context for the discussions to come. It attempted to answer some questions, such as how businesses can advertise without a permit (answer: in their windows or sandwich boards out front in certain circumstances), why the town regulates signs in the first place (answer: safety, esthetics, and to prevent a free-for-all, possibly among others).

Another question dealt with; ‘What are third party and non-point-of-sale advertising and why do we regulate it?’ The answers are similar to the above, i.e. there’s a perception that these signs are distracting to motorists, can be confusing, can create unfair advantage and can simply lead to too many signs cluttering up the landscape.

Council wasn’t being asked to make any decisions. At some point it will, but not before a committee is formed, brainstorming sessions undertaken, information is compiled, reports written and recommendations brought forward.

However, councillor Darin Busk got on the record right off the bat, saying he doesn’t see why downtown business can’t put up temporary signs out on the highway to direct traffic their way. One reason could be (he was advised) is that if you let one, or some do it, you’d have to allow all to do it.

But that discussion will happen down the road. The idea is to set up an 11-member board of public members, representing residents, business and non-profit groups. Meetings will likely commence early in the new year.

Council accepted the report as information.

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