New Westminster considers new location for digital sign

The City of New Westminster needs to relocate a digital sign as part of the Pattullo Bridge replacement project but wants to do it in a way that causes the least impact on residents and still generates revenue.

Council recently received a staff report that indicated the existing sign was being moved about 310 metres north of its current location. The report stated that a “light intrusion study” done by the sign’s operator, Outfront Media, concluded the light generated by the sign would be comparable to streetlight levels and shouldn’t present any impacts to surrounding residential properties.

But several area residents and some council members aren’t convinced.

“This bright sign will shine right into our home at night, and will also be a huge eyesore,” said a resident in an email to the city. “I do not support this location. We aren’t living in Vegas, and chose the proximity to the park and green space for a reason.”

Coun. Patrick Johnstone expressed concern that the proposed location could havemore of an impact on many more residential properties than the previous location. He was particularly concerned to hear the sign’s new location was expected to be its permanent home, rather than being moved to a “less obtrusive” location once the Pattullo Bridge replacement project is complete.

Coun. Jaimie McEvoy said he’s worried residents who are looking out their windows or from their balconies will be bombarded with constant advertising.

“I’ve heard about it from a lot of the people in the community. It’s not a small concern; it’s a big concern,” he said. “They want their livability without feeling like they are living in a commercial district.”

Roger Emanuels, the city’s manager of design and construction, said the proposed site was one of twolocations that were identified within the Pattullo
Bridge project area for possible digital signage.

“In our contract with the digital operator, when we had to relocate the one sign in order to accommodate the bridge construction, we had to find a location that had similar traffic volumes and exposure in order to maintain the viability and the revenue stream associated with the sign,” he said. “There are significant costs being incurred by the digital company in order to relocate the sign to that location, so it isn’t actually deemed temporary at this time.”

Emanuels said alternate locations may be available for the digital sign once the construction project is complete, when officials will be able to see “the terrain” left after the bridge is built.

“It is difficult to ascertain at this time what that would look like, so this location was chosen in order to keep the revenue stream alive for this sign,” he said. “That’s why this location was chosen at this time.”

Emanuels said the purpose of the staff report was to update council on the four responses staff had received from community members about the proposed location, which had been included in a previous report to council.

At its Oct. 5 meeting, council referred the issue back to staff to consider alternatives to the proposed location, with the goal of reducing the sign’s visibility from nearby residences.

© New West Record

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