Cape Breton seeks to correct sign situation

Multi-colored mobile signs, advertising just about anything you can think of, are commonplace in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Alyce MacLean is among those who thinks they are unsightly.

“And they’re everywhere,” MacLean said. “We are such a beautiful island. And they are so ugly.”

MacLean said she was happy the municipality is now asking residents what they think of the moving light panels, adding that she doesn’t think they are welcome to visitors.

“A few people say they are tourists and they came here, and they noticed that we had a lot more than other places,” she said. “Cape Breton is so beautiful and they were a little surprised that all those really ugly signs that were everywhere.”

Craig Boudreau owns a mobile display business in the Sydney area. He agrees that in some cases there are too many panels, too tight against each other and welcomes the city‘s consideration of the matter.

“These are actually lifesavers for a lot of small businesses and nonprofits, but at the same time, they need to be cleaned up,” Boudreau said. “At the end of the day, I think we’ll find a happy medium. This is what they want. This is what the CBRM wants. And I believe that’s what the public wants. “

CBRM advisor Steve Gillespie said the goal is not an outright ban, but rather better regulation. He said he first raised the issue a few years ago, after receiving complaints.

“We are launching a survey of the general public and asking for their opinion,” said Gillespie. “(The goal is) just that these don’t start to pile up. Sometimes you’ll see a sign in an area, and then four days later there are five. Signs like this shouldn’t. be on private property. They should not be on municipal, provincial or federal property. “

While some see signs as a useful marketing tool. others say they are now part of the urban landscape.

“Pretty much like white noise. I don’t find them very effective, ”said MacLean.

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