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Blind support for Sandwich Board initiative

Media Release From: The Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind

Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind supports Auckland City Council Sandwich Board initiative

The Auckland City Council's central city Sandwich Board initiative, which takes effect from 1 Feb, is fully supported by the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.

Auckland City Council implemented the initiative because of their concern about the number and quality of sandwich boards and their effect on amenities, pedestrian safety and convenience.

The Foundation views such pavement advertising as a risk to people's health and safety, particularly for those who are blind and sight-impaired because they cannot see the sandwich boards and can fall over them or have difficulty manoeuvring around them.

Foundation spokesperson, Community Education Advisor Chris Orr says "The decision by the Council to remove sandwich boards and banners from the footpaths in the central city area is a welcome move.

"Sandwich boards are a problem. They take up space on the footpath, narrowing the available space left (especially for those who have guide dogs). They fall over in the wind, making them a danger and a hazard. And, because they are portable they are never in the same place twice - so you can't plan for them."

The new Auckland City Consolidated bylaw was passed by the Planning and Regulatory Committee in October 2000 amending the Sign bylaw to allow Auckland City the authority to remove sandwich boards in selected areas.

Auckland City is implementing a staged withdrawal of sandwich boards from certain streets in the central city area.

The streets affected are those bordered by Hobson Street, Fanshawe Street, Sturdee Street, Quay Street, Britomart place, Emily Place, Princess Street, Wellesley Street, Mayoral Drive and includes all public squares and public spaces within this area.

From Monday 1 January 2001, sandwich boards were prohibited from those specified public streets and council officers have been placing reminder stickers on sandwich boards that continue to be used.

From midnight Wednesday 31 January 2001 Auckland City Council officers will remove all non-complying signs.

The bylaw allows Community Boards to seek the removal of sandwich boards from other retail areas such as Newmarket and Parnell.

"We realise that many businesses might find the new bylaw an imposition on their rights as a retailer", says Mr Orr', "but we'd like them to appreciate how difficult it can be to navigate freely in shopping areas with limited or no sight and support this initiative as a community service."

-ends-


Sandwich Board Removal Campaign

Background
The issue of sandwich boards has been given wide media coverage and together with the consultation undertaken by Heart of the City, retailers are aware of Auckland City's intention to withdraw the sandwich board privileges currently under the city bylaws.
The Planning and Regulatory Committee resolved in October 2000 to implement a staged withdrawal of sandwich boards from the central area.
From Monday 1 January 2001, sandwich boards will be prohibited from the public streets identified and that Council Officer will be placing reminder stickers on sandwich boards that continue to be used.
From midnight Wednesday 31 January 2001 will remove non-complying signs.
The Auckland City Ambassadors will distribute information cards about the process. Enforcement officers will apply the stickers.
The Auckland City Consolidated bylaw defines a sandwich board as ' any portable sign, placed on a public place advertising goods, services or an event.'

Key Messages
A resolution was passed by the Planning and Regulatory Committee in October 2000 amending the Sign Bylaw to allow Auckland City the authority to remove sandwich boards in selected areas.
This bylaw came into effect on 1 January 2001 and will be enforced from 1 February 2001.
Auckland City is concerned about the number and quality of sandwich boards and their effect on amenities, pedestrian safety and convenience.

Q&A
The campaign has started with the central city and will move on to other areas including Newmarket and Parnell.

The bylaw defines a sandwich board as any portable sign placed on a public place, advertising goods, services or an event and allows Council to nominate streets where sandwich boards are prohibited.

Only sandwich boards and banners on the footpath (Council property) will be removed.

The Planning and Regulatory Committee resolved to remove sandwich boards to increase pedestrian safety (October 2000).

There is a real concern by a group of retailers. The group believes their businesses will be hugely affected by the removal, as it is their primary tool for advertising.

The stickers were designed to be permanent. This is part 2 of the removal process. The purpose of the sticker is to notify of an offending sandwich board and the need to remove it by 1 February 2001.

The decision has been communicated through Heart of the City, City Scene and public notices. Retailers in the area affected should have received an Information Card.

What central city streets are effected?

When will other streets be effected?

RNZFB and ABC have both agreed with the decision taken by the Council's Planning and Regulatory committee. They support this initiative and look forward to other areas being effected.
Sandwich boards are a nuisance. They take up space on the footpath, narrowing the available space left. They fall over in the wind, making them a danger and a hazard. Because they are portable they are never in the same place twice.


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