British Columbia

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes 'filled with garbage' gone from downtown

The mayor of Victoria is calling for the removal of newspaper boxes from the city's downtown streets, saying they're no longer needed and often filled with garbage. 

'They are unsightly clutter,' says Downtown Victoria Business Association

According to the mayor's motion, the boxes have become obsolete with the use of the internet and libraries. (City of Victoria)

The mayor of Victoria is calling for the removal of newspaper boxes from the city's downtown streets, saying they're no longer needed and often filled with garbage. 

Mayor Lisa Helps and councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe are presenting a motion to take the boxes away at the urging of the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), which calls them "sidewalk clutter."

In a letter to the mayor and to council, the DVBA says that it frequently has to pick up magazines scattered "by careless or mischievous people."

It also claims the boxes are often covered with graffiti.

"They are unsightly clutter which contributes to the perception of some visitors that downtown is 'messy,'" the letter says.

The DVBA also says the boxes take up sidewalk space that has become especially important for physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the mayor's motion, the boxes have become obsolete with the use of the internet and libraries. 

"These boxes are no longer needed and most are often empty or filled with garbage," the motion says.

Helps and Thornton-Joe argue that because there is no fee or licensing for companies to set up the boxes, they are profiting from public space for free while small businesses have to pay fees for sandwich boards on sidewalks.

The motion, which goes before council next Thursday, wants municipal staff to ask the companies to remove the newspaper boxes from city-owned property, or for staff to remove them if the companies refuse. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now