MUSKOKA – Visitors see them in nearly every town or village they visit.
ROGUE SIGN: .
Banner signs such as this one on Huntsville's Main Street are illegal as far as a District of Muskoka bylaw is concerned. But district staff are looking to change that.
But banner flags on downtown lamp posts are not technically allowed to be there, according to District of Muskoka’s Tony White.
White, commissioner of engineering and public works, told district councillors on Oct. 3 that the lightweight, flexible banners – often put on lampposts by area municipalities as advertisements – are not mentioned under the district’s sign bylaw.
“This item has been an issue of some concern for a while, though it hasn’t been eating away at us,” said White.
The district sign bylaw places restrictions on what signs are allowed on district road allowances. The main streets in Muskoka’s area municipalities are typically district roads.
He said the banner signs installed by municipalities often go on public infrastructure such as lamp posts or other poles to promote anything from festivals to historic landmarks.
“Because these have traditionally been mounted on public infrastructure, we have not taken a position with them,” he said. “But they are not covered by our bylaw so they’re not technically supposed to be there.”
However, staff recommended changing the bylaw to allow the area municipalities to fly such banners on district road allowances. “We would like to change that so staff don’t have to look the other way every time we drive by one,” said White. “We want to put it in the bylaw so they are codified.”
The bylaw amendment would allow signs sponsored by area municipalities on municipal infrastructure to remain without requiring a permit from the district. But White said there have been examples of private companies putting up a similar style of signs around Muskoka, particularly in rural areas. The amendment would not be so lenient with this group.
“Where a private company wants to put these things up, they will require a permit as well as permission from whomever owns the pole,” said White.
Councillors supported the amendment at the committee level and forwarded it to district council for consideration on Oct. 22.