Clearwater’s billboard signs are aging

Some billboard signs entering Clearwater from the north are faded, broken or missing pieces. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)Some billboard signs entering Clearwater from the north are faded, broken or missing pieces. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)
A billboard sign seen from Highway 5 entering Clearwater from the south is UV faded and has fallen over. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)A billboard sign seen from Highway 5 entering Clearwater from the south is UV faded and has fallen over. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)
Some billboard signs along the highway entering Clearwater are old and advertise a storefront that is no longer there. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)Some billboard signs along the highway entering Clearwater are old and advertise a storefront that is no longer there. (Stephanie Hagenaars photo)

Billboards create a space to advertise services, parks and local businesses to those travelling the highway to new places, but if left in harsh outdoor conditions, many become faded, showing signs of age or even fall over, becoming an eyesore rather than a helpful tool.

When billboards become unsightly, what can be done about them?

Many, if not all, of the billboards on either end of Clearwater are built on private land, through a deal with between the land owner and the business. Often the land owner rents the space to the business.

Before any sign is installed, the contractor or homeowner should “call or click” before they dig, to ensure there are no gas lines or any other infrastructure in the ground that can be disturbed or damaged. This should be done before any big or small outdoor improvement, including installing posts, signs, decks or even a garden. There is no cost for this service.

Within the Distinct of Clearwater, there is no specific bylaw regulating signs, however, the Good Neighbour Bylaw touches on unsightliness of properties. Mike Smith, community safety and bylaw officer, said the Good Neighbour Bylaw was developed to address property, land use and storage, and doesn’t specifically speak to business billboard signs.

But, if the DOC received a complaint from the public, “we would research and investigate the issue as we do for every complaint received.”

Because the billboards are on private land, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure does not have jurisdiction when it comes to unsightly or damaged billboards, unless the signs are have created a safety hazard for motorists.

Signs built along provincial highway rights-of-way are prohibited under section 214 of the Motor Vehicle Act, a MoTI spokesperson told the Times in a statement, but can be approved by the ministry through a permit.

“As local governments and regional districts typically govern land use within their boundaries, the ministry does not address signs on private land, unless they interfere with sight lines or otherwise create a safety hazard for highway travellers,” the ministry added in the statement.

After investigating the location of various billboards north and south of Clearwater along Highway 5, MoTI “determined that the Clearwater-area billboards do not pose a safety risk to travellers.” However, if a sign were to pose a safety hazard, the ministry would work with the property owner to ensure the sign is removed or relocated safely.



newsroom@clearwatertimes.com

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