Letter to the Editor: Illegal signage in Westboro

Dear Editor,

Starting in early in 2018, I began noticing our sidewalks had sprouted huge sandwich boards advertising the sale of condos that were part of the 14-floor development at Richmond and Island Park. The boards ran all along Wellington West and Richmond streets.

At first I was simply irritated by seeing these signs promoting the sale of private condos several blocks from the development site and arrogantly cluttering our public space. But after more and more of them began to appear – along Scott and up and down Churchill and Kirkwood – I became angry.

Why were the monetary interests of private developers allowed to aggressively usurp our public space to sell their condos – their signs mysteriously popping up all along major intersections and high traffic pedestrian areas in Westboro – and not be challenged? Surely this must be illegal.

The sandwich board signs have been removed but Richard Pinet asks residents to watch for any reappearance, and understand the law. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

I became increasingly agitated by the volume and placement of these signs throughout our community, so I started to explore the rules and regulations for such signage. I discovered that not only are the signs illegal by nature of their intent, but the dimensions of the signs themselves contravene our city’s by-laws as well.

The signs irritated me since they first appeared seven months ago. Finally, fed up, over the last three months I tried to get action from Councillor Jeff Leiper to do something about this situation. Seven months after these signs first started to illegally clutter our public spaces, and three months after I had repeatedly asked the city to enforce its regulations, things have started to change.

Perhaps tellingly, it was only by cc’ing members of the media that enforcement finally stepped in.

On August 25, I was informed by the By-Law office that more than 36 signs promoting Ashcroft’s Monocle condos and the Mizrahi development at Richmond and Island Park have been impounded. The signs were found along Kirkwood and Churchill; from Wellington and Parkdale to as far west as Richmond and Roosevelt, and from Island Park Drive at Helena to Byron!

I love this community. I love my neighbourhood. But I am fearful of how developers seem to have the city in their back pockets when it comes to getting what they want in real estate development – often at the expense of what is in the best interests of its citizens. And, it appears, they can blatantly promote their wares at any corner of the community they see fit – and the city will turn a blind eye for months – until someone like me says ENOUGH!

In closing I would ask that anyone who sees signs for these or future condos pop up on or around your streets, please do not hesitate: contact the City of Ottawa (by calling 311 or going to Ottawa.ca) and demand to have them removed and ensure that the perpetrators are fined as stipulated in the Provincial Offences Act, R.S.O. 1990. Chapter P.33.

And, in the upcoming election, please support candidates who will stand up to developers and support our neighbourhood.

Richard Pinet,

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