Fredericton urged to ban sandwich board signs

An advocacy group for disabled people wants sandwich board signs banned from downtown Fredericton sidewalks.

An advocacy group for disabled people wants sandwich board signs banned from downtown Fredericton sidewalks.

"For anyone who's blind or visually impaired, or even persons who are using maybe crutches or a wheelchair, it's one more obstacle that you have to navigate around," said Lui Greco, assistant executive director of the Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons.

The council made its case to the city's planning committee in December. Now, a bylaw that would ban the signs is nearing approval by Fredericton city council.

Joanne Gimblett, the owner of Racines Restaurant, said the sandwich boards are a good advertising tool and she would like to keep the option of using one.

She said she understands how the signs could be a hazard but would like an alternative to an outright ban, such as rules on where the signs can be placed.

"Reposition it or put it somewhere where it wouldn't be in someone's way," Gimblett said.

"When you walk by, we would call it 'in your face' advertising. People really can't help but see it if they have to walk around it or beside it, so it's good for us to feature a special or something that we want to tell the public."

A bylaw that would ban the signs goes before council for final reading on March 14.

Last fall, business owners were upset when the City of Toronto began enforcing a five-year-old bylaw that only allowed ground-floor businesses to display sandwich board signs in an attempt clean up sidewalk clutter.