Toronto

Toronto needs uniform billboard regulations, report says

The City of Toronto is reviewing a report from an independent consultant it hired to look at the issue of signs and billboards as it considers toughening regulations.

The City of Toronto is reviewing a report from an independent consultant it hired to look at the issue of signs and billboards.

Current regulations pre-date the 1998 amalgamation. 

City council is considering tougher regulations — everything from height and location restrictions to limits on brightness.

The consultant's report shows a patchwork of standards for signs across the city and suggests one set of rules for all of the former cities.

One idea is to allow more billboards at places like Dundas Square while restricting them in residential areas.

For resident Rami Tabello the issue isn't regulation; it's enforcement. He says illegal signs and billboards are all over the city.

Tabello started IllegalSigns.ca. He estimates there are 500 illegal signs across the city at any given time.

"It makes our city look cheap," he said. "It makes our city look ugly.  It destroys what's unique about our communities."

IllegalSigns.ca is lobbying the city to remove billboards that do not conform to current standards.

Ron Hutchinson, a senior VP at  Astral Media Outdoor, says he hopes any new regulations will have some flexibility. 

"I would hope working with the city to define exactly what's legal and what is not ... is an important part of this process," he said.

The consultant's report suggests that a special unit be created to inspect and enforce rules.

A new sign bylaw is expected to go to city council next year. 

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