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Jutting out Jumbotrons rejected
For the second time in less than a year New Westminster council has rejected a pitch for a jumbotron advertising sign outside Plaza 88.
The new plan requested several exemptions to the city's sign bylaw, but council said no because little had changed from the initial proposal a year ago.
Five Star Permits and Pattison Signs applied to install two full-motion digital signs, both 22 feet wide by nearly 16 feet high that would have a V-shape jutting out from the building over the sidewalk. Those dimensions far exceed what the city bylaw allows.
In 2012, they proposed one large sign for the side of the building to promote businesses in The Shops at New Westminster mall. That was rejected in December, because the light could affect hotel guests staying at the Inn at the Quay, directly across from the sign. There was also concern for a residential project in the development stages for the parking lot between the hotel and railway tracks.
Despite the proposed angle change, council didn't see it as an acceptable improvement.
"Nothing changed with the application," said Coun. Bill Harper. "For the light leakage, for the people who live very close to it, having this digital sign constantly shining on their building... [would not be good.]”
Safety concerns and efficient movement for vehicle traffic were also expressed in a staff report to council. It noted the sign would be visible for westbound traffic only to those stopped at the Front Street/Columbia intersection because the curve in the road would make it difficult to see from a further distance. While the sign may be visible for those coming from Stewardson Way "it should be noted that this portion of the road is challenging to navigate and requires the full attention of a driver," said the report. "We question the safety of having full motion signage at this location."
"That doesn't line up. Literally, to see the sign you've got to look over your head," said Harper.
The report also pointed out Columbia Street is progressing as a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented area supported by transit while the signs are aimed at passing motorists without aiding pedestrians or enhancing their experience.
Although the mall was sold to First Capital Realty in May 2012, Plaza 88 retained the right to put up digital signage with the space being sold to the mall outlets.
The staff report and council acknowledged the tenant signage needs to undergo a comprehensive review to figure out a way to increase its effectiveness for the businesses. The report said First Capital has expressed interested in participating in the review.
Mayor Wayne Wright noted that he isn't pleased with how the building's facade has developed.
"That front doesn't seem to do enough for me. It's just not what I would expect to be on that building."