The Toronto Public Space Initiative successfully advocacted to defeat and stall a large number of billboard proposals at TEYCC, including LEDs and vinyl billboards.
TPSI is concerned about billboards because they can have negative impacts on neighbourhoods, public space, property values, and traffic safety in some cases, among other concerns.
Specifically, the January 10 2012 TEYCC meeting heard proposals for 20 new billboards (not including both sides) that would have required variances from the Sign Bylaw to be installed. Essentially, the billboard company ‘Strategic Outdoor’ was requesting that they be given formal permission to ‘get around’ the letter and spirit of the Sign Bylaw that regulates billboards and mitigates many of the concerns that TPSI and communities have with regard to billboards.
Fortunately, thanks to our advocacy efforts, the 3 LED variance requests (more if you count additional sides) were rejected by TEYCC, and finally City Council on Feb 6 2012.
It is the current understanding of TPSI that the remaining vinyl billboard variance applications were deferred at the TEYCC February 14 2012 meeting to allow the Committee time to receive legal advice on the matter, as the company behind the proposal may have threatened legal action against the City should its proposals be rejected due to what may have been a procedural error on behalf of the City in the initial stages of the application which would have allowed it to guard itself against such action. In the opinion of TPSI this appears to be a underhanded manipulation of the law by the company behind the billboard proposals in an effort to thwart Council’s will.
The TPSI Advocacy Division continues to monitor the situation.
For a full list of the billboard variance applications see this TEYCC meeting agenda, and see items TE12.99 to TE12.119