New Westminster city council has shot down plans to place digital signage on the Plaza at New Westminster Station.
On behalf of Plaza 88 Retail Development Ltd., the Pattison Sign Group applied to city hall for variances that would allow a 68-square-metre full-motion digital sign to be installed on the Columbia Street façade of the development. The sign would require variances to six sections of the city's signage bylaw.
Peter Stanley, a senior consultant at the Pattison Sign Group, told council Monday night that the proposed message centre has been supported by the Downtown and Quayside residents' associations.
"The message centres are a valuable tool in getting the message out to the community and the people they are trying to serve," he said.
Stanley noted that other message boards are located in the city, including the city's board at Queen's Park, Douglas College and the Royal Towers. He said the proposed sign at the Plaza at New Westminster Station would be 16 by 40 feet in size, which is 11 times the size of the Queen's Park message board that's located at Sixth Avenue and McBride Boulevard.
Although the tenants would like to have "as much exposure as humanly possible," Stanley said the landlord would be open to compromises such as restricting the sign to certain operating hours. The digital sign would also include self-dimming capacities so its brightness would decrease as it gets dark.
Earlier this fall, city council
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER twitter .com/TheRecord JOIN US ON FACEBOOK facebook.com/RoyalCityRecord viewed a video of the proposed signage, which showed the names of tenants in the mall and a trailer of a movie being shown at the Landmark Cinemas.
Stanley said the landlord has no intention of showing movie trailers on the digital sign, noting the image was included to show the capability of the signage being proposed on the building. The names of tenants would be shown on the screen, he said, but would not include moving images.
"That's not the intent," he said. "It's strictly to find a way to put a brand image up there."
West End resident Bill Zander voiced opposition to the proposed sign, saying the signage bylaw has been carefully developed in consideration of residents' needs.
"It's the beginning of a slippery road, in my opinion," he said about the precedent that the sign would have in the city.
Council did not support the variances.
"This signage is unbelievably large for any area," said Coun. Chuck Puchmayr. "It does impact the heritage flavour of that area."
Coun. Jonathan Cote said he's sympathetic to the needs of businesses at the Plaza at New Westminster Station but feels the sign is too large for this neighbourhood.
Although the applicant stated that the landlord would be willing to restrict the light to certain hours and wouldn't show moving images on the digital sign, Coun. Jaimie McEvoy said that's not reflected in the variances being sought. He said it's a "big mistake" to safeguard the public interest by accepting personal assurances of the type of signage that would be installed.
McEvoy also expressed concern about the precedent that the large sign would set elsewhere in the city. If the city's not prepared to have the same kind of signage elsewhere in the city, he said council shouldn't support the variance.
In addition to promoting businesses inside the shopping centre, the applicant had proposed giving the city space to show 10 civic and city-supported messages each hour at no cost to the city.