The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have earned the support of a key city committee in its quest to have a giant flashing marquee sign visible from the QEW.

Despite objections from planning staff and the Ministry of Transportation, the city’s general issues committee voted Wednesday to allow the six-storey sign promoting Tim Hortons Field on city property at 900 Woodward Ave. for at least 20 years.

The vote is a show of confidence, said Ticats president Glenn Gibson. The team will now appeal to the planning committee, and also to MTO, to try to turn the tide on the project.

As for the potential success, “we’ll see what happens then,” he said.

The sign project dates back to late 2012, when the CFL team and the city signed a memorandum of understanding to work on a gateway sign. The sign is also included in the February 2014 agreement for the new Tim Hortons Field stadium.

Staff identified its water treatment plant property on Woodward Avenue, which fronts the QEW, as the best spot for the sign. The Ticats will pay to install the nearly $3-million sign, as well as all the ongoing operating and maintenance costs.

For the city’s part, it gets to flash its logo and other events on the sign for 10 seconds at a time. The Ticats will also allocate about $500,000 over 20 years to special projects in the communities surrounding the sign.

City planning staff have advised against allowing the marquee sign, largely because of its size. The Ticats will urge councillors on Friday to go against the staff recommendation. If that happens, it will give the Ticats better footing when they go to MTO, Gibson said.

The sign will have a static double-sided 14 by 48-foot electronic LED message space and scrolling tickers.

MTO opposes the sign because it’s within 400 metres of the QEW. The proposed location is by the Burlington Street exit ramp to QEW Niagara, which would be seen by about 150,000 drivers daily.