Surrey bylaw zeroes in on ugly, cluttered signs

SURREY – Surrey has made changes to its sign bylaw in an effort to create a more beautiful city.

 

Surrey Coun. Bruce Hayne said amendments to the Surrey Sign By-Law No. 13656 were approved by council late last year, and the city is now looking to educate businesses before it starts handing out tickets.

 

The changes are intended to reduce red tape and to enhance the city’s streetscapes.

 

Most of the amendments deal with unsightliness, Hayne said.

 

"So, flags, banners, bouncing gorillas, all of that stuff. And then multiple signs in windows, for instance, covering up almost the entire window of a premise, we’ve reduced the percentage of windows that can be covered by signage, we’ve reduced the number of second-storey signs on a building and so on, just to try to reduce sign clutter in the city."

 

Hayne said sandwich boards, for example, are not allowed on public property.

 

"They can’t be on sidewalks, they have to be on the proponent’s property," Hayne said. "So mostly it’s a beautification issue for the city. And a lot of the signs were illegal before, but we’ve sort of clarified things more and made things more clear in the bylaw."

 

When asked if the bylaw will target "ugly" signs, Hayne said yes.

 

"That is more discretionary with the planning department and that’s where it becomes a little tricky because to one planner something’s ugly and to somebody else it’s not…. There’s got to be discretion there."

 

Hayne said Whistler Village is an example of attractive, fair signage.

 

"You walk around the village and everybody has very, very controlled signage. It’s elegant, there’s not a single business you can’t find and everybody’s on a level playing field."

 

And that’s what he wants to see in Surrey. To get there, Hayne said the city plans to zero in on problematic business sectors.

 

"Real estate is a big one for us. Gas stations and convenience stores are a big one for us. Some of the retail, like the furniture industry, is another one for us. And home-based businesses where people are putting up massive signs on houses and things like that in residential areas. There’s no problem having a home-based business, but you can’t take the entire upper floor of your home and wrap it with a thing that says accounting. That’s just not fair to your neighbours."

 

While the main focus is on business sectors, Hayne said there are some geographical spots the city will focus on, such as sections of 128th Street and Scott Road. But before the city begins handing out tickets, it will be rolling out an education campaign, Hayne said.

 

"We want to get the word out to the business community. So we’re doing some brochures and a video to go on our website and things like that, to support it, just so the business community understands the new bylaw is here and in place, and that there are new rules and regulations," Hayne said. "At first, we’re going to try to do things in a communicative and co-operative style, but if there’s still persistent violations then we’ll start to crack down."

 

Hayne went on to say that signs are not the city’s most pressing issue right now.

 

"But I think it’s something that needed to be addressed," he added. "It just goes to the whole beautification of the city and it’s just one of the things we can be doing."

 

Last year, in an effort to clean up Scott Road, Delta council barred certain businesses from its side of the street.

 

Porn stores, cash for gold shops, chequecashing centres, dating and escort services, gun shops, massage parlours, pawnshops, private smoking clubs and tattoo parlours were all banned from hanging out their shingle along the Delta side of Scott Road.

 

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said at the time that Surrey’s side of the road could also use a facelift.

 

"I’m not impressed with the Surrey side of Scott Road," Jackson said last April. "It’s like a forgotten part of Surrey."

 

Visit surrey.ca to find the amended bylaw.

 

areid@thenownewspaper.com With files from Tom Zytaruk

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

OBITUARY: Sherrold Haddad brought giant Canadian flag to Surrey car dealership, built community

‘An amazing man, business person and community leader,’ friend Bruce Hayne posted to Facebook

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and beyond

MARCH 28: Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

‘There is community’: B.C. councillor welcomes new baby into world amid COVID-19 pandemic

‘I realize there’s much more than fear and worry… there is hope, there is new life’: Jason Lum

Blue ribbons popping up along streets in Abbotsford in praise of B.C. healthcare workers

Healthcare worker’s family starts local trend of morale support

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Most Read