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Council blitzes illegal signs on public land

February 11, 2005

Council blitzes illegal signs on public land

North Shore City Council has launched a citywide blitz on illegal signage erected on berms and footpaths.

The problem of signs cluttering public land is getting out of hand, according to North Shore City environmental protection team leader, Warwick Robertson.

He says council officers regularly remove up to a hundred signs a week, a number of which are concreted permanently into the grassed berm area. Meanwhile, temporary signs can spring up like mushrooms, literally overnight.

Over the coming months, the council will be policing the city's footpaths more vigorously and educating the public as to what is acceptable and what is not.

"People have to remember that public land is for the use of everyone," says Mr Robertson. The proliferation of illegal signs is unsightly and causes an obstruction to pedestrians and motorists, he says.

The council is giving businesses the opportunity to remove signs erected illegally on public land -- or face enforced removal, and penalties.

Warwick Robertson says the council understands commercial needs and is keen to work with the business community. "We are not banning signs, but we do want businesses to be more responsible," he says.

The council is developing a new working policy on signs ahead of a review of its Control of Signs Bylaw later in the year. There will be the opportunity for public submissions at this time.

"We would like to give all businesses the right to erect some appropriate form of temporary signage - beyond which they would need a permit," says Mr Robertson.

Currently the council allows businesses to each place a temporary sandwich board-style sign of a metre square on public land outside its property, providing it does not cause an obstruction.

It is not a "closed door" policy, says Mr Robertson. "We are happy to discuss individual requirements with businesses and consider other possibilities."

Businesses who decide to remove non-conforming signage are reminded to ensure that no underground services are damaged in the process.

For clubs and community groups there are numerous locations around North Shore City where signs can be displayed with the permission of the local area office, contactable through Actionline on 486 8600.

Anyone wishing to know more about the council's bylaw and sign guidelines should also contact Actionline, or check out the council's website on www.northshorecity.govt.nz

ENDS

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