A District of North Vancouver councillor’s desire to make development meeting signs more clear and legible was scuttled by her fellow councillors who felt the old signs are just fine and the new ones may even confuse citizens. One councillor went so far as to say the new signs were less about giving information and more about creating a sensation in the community.
At a council meeting on December 4, council voted to drop a motion to introduce new signs for public information meetings that are organised by the developers. The council decided to ‘lay it on the table,’ or to set it aside indefinitely or as an official put it more clearly, to kill it.
Councillor Roger Bassam, Matthew Bond and Robin Hicks voted to not discuss it in the future, while Mayor Richard Walton and Jim Hanson voted against the motion. The councillor who wanted the signs changed—Lisa Muri—was absent along with Councillor Doug MacKay-Dunn.
Councillor Muri said signs for some developer information meetings are not legible or clear enough for the public to make an informed decision on what exactly it is that the developers are proposing. She said a recent sign for proposed condos and townhomes prompted her to work with staff on creating signs that are clear, legible and have more information such as parking and number of units, etc.
She said developers have flexibility on the kind of signs they can create for information meeting they hold for the public because there is no particular policy that guides the shape and size of that signage. “In many cases, it’s difficult to see what it says, let alone what it means. Why not make it as clear as possible, do you know not want to hear what people have to say? Be honest with people and tell people what you want to build and give precise and readable information,” she said.
She says she worked with the staff to create new signs that were more readable and presented relevant information in a readable format. Council, however, rejected those signs and asked staff to continue with the old signs.
“I’d move that this motion be laid on the table and no further action be taken. I have looked at it and I don’t understand why we would be implementing changes to signage. The new ones leave me more concerned about the ability to convey the message rather than the one we have right now. I don’t think there is a significant benefit to introducing any new templates. The new ones are not very good and I prefer that we stick with what we have right now,” said Councillor Roger Bassam.
Bassam also questioned the wisdom of giving more information when it’s the developer is holding just a preliminary meeting and it’s quite early in the process. “These are signs indicating developer meeting and they involve community engagement and it’s good for them to give a general information rather than specific information. It’s not specific project, it’s open to the community input on what shape it takes place. The signage we have right now is very good, and these are very effective for a very early stage proposal,” he added.
Councillor Robin Hicks agreed. “I concur with the comments that Bassam has made. The suggested format inclines it to sensationalism than to actual factual information. It will encourage people who don’t want any development to come along and object. We need to convey what is being held and this seems to be to be too focussed and one sided,” he said.
Mayor Walton too expressed his concerns about the type of information being given. “I will be more interested in the type of units, I am not sure I will be interested in parking stalls, and the number of units because it doesn’t give the full picture,” he said.
Councillor Matthew Bond said he didn’t see any improved benefit to the proposed sign. He said the signs are not intended for people who are driving by fast but rather for community members who can pause and read and then visit the website for more information.
“If people are interested in this type of signage, it is mostly going to be local residents that will be most impacted and they will be able to stop in their daily business. The existing ones are good. This is someone getting feedback on something that may or may not happen. It will be more confusing,” he said.