Looks like City Council will be throwing out the City’s sign bylaw to allow the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to build a massive electronic advertising sign on City property at the East End water treatment plant that borders the QEW and Red Hill Valley Parkway.
The Ticats will fund the estimated $3-million dollar sign, which will include third-party advertising with a revenue split between the Ticats and the City of Hamilton.
Details will be worked out. The Ticats tell Andrew Dreschel they hope to have it operational in 2015.
The sign will have City-wide consequences, as it undermines the intent and purpose of the City’s Sign By-Law which prohibits video screen billboards. It also prohibits billboards within 400 metres of the major highways in Hamilton.
Giving the Ticats exception to the bylaw will give billboard companies an opening to successfully appeal the By-Law – meaning Hamilton could see a proliferation of video billboards across our City and along our highways.
To their credit, Pattison Outdoor Advertising openly lobbied City Council at the March 2013 Planning Committee for a change to the Sign By-law.
Pattison presently have an Ontario Municipal Board appeal against the City related to the expropriation of the City Motor Motel. Large rooftop billboards, sure as the ones at the City Motor, are now banned in Hamilton. Existing billboards were grandfathered, Pattison is seeking compensation for the lost of their location.
Pattison’s OMB appeal will be significantly strengthen by an uneven application of the sign By-Law by Council.
Why are the Ticats – a for-profit corporation – deserving of multiple exceptions to the By-Law and favourable treatment in leasing City property?
How will Council defend this favourable treatment in an OMB hearing or a full court hearing?
The Ticats sign could be an opportunity for a gateway promoting Hamilton, but is it worth the consequences?
Let the debate begin.