Banned signs all over Chch

23:51, Jul 24 2012
Commercial signage has proliferated in public places.
VISUAL POLLUTION? Commercial signage has proliferated in public places.

Prohibited advertising is rife in Christchurch, but the city council appears to be turning a blind eye.

Commercial signage has been popping up on anything from bridges and pedestrian crossings to trees since the February 2011 earthquake.

Some of it is as basic as a piece of customwood with a cellphone number.

Sign
Another commercial sign

The council's Public Places Bylaw 2008 requires anyone wanting to undertake a commercial activity or to create an obstruction in a public place, like a sign, to get council permission.

But the council says it is focusing on signs that pose a public safety risk.

Council inspections and enforcement manager Gary Lennan said council officers would investigate any complaints where signs did not comply with the bylaw or the city plan.

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Another sign

However, he was "mindful of the difficult business environment post-earthquakes".

There was a need for businesses to advertise either their return to premises or their continued operation from existing premises, he said.

"The current focus . . . is around those signs that pose a safety risk to the public or if the sheer volume of signage requires some compliance action," he said.

Sign
And yet another sign

Steve Armstrong has started an upholstery business and has placed chipboard signs around the city, including on power poles and trees.

Some had fallen down in the rain, and Orion had asked him to take some down.

"I'm just trying to get my name out there. I can't afford the Yellow Pages," he said.

A spokeswoman from a doctor's surgery that put up a sign on the Montreal St bridge would not comment on whether it had obtained permission, although she confirmed it had not gone through the council.

"I don't think it's got anything to do with The Press," she said.

An Earthquake Commission opt-out company put up a sign with its website on a bridge but did not have a contact number listed.

Phantom Billstickers manager Jamey Holloway said he had noticed a lot of signage that appeared not to be permitted - "Some you could describe as functional or utilitarian".

Phantom had designated council-approved locations in the city for posters.

He was not overly concerned because of the "challenging times".

"If someone is really struggling and they are cutting a corner to survive, then I applaud them, but if someone is taking advantage, then maybe the system needs to return to normal," he said.

Keep Christchurch Beautiful deputy chairman Rod Cameron said he had noticed the increase in signage and would normally be horrified.

However, because of the number of businesses that had been displaced by the quakes, the organisation was taking a more relaxed view.

"I think under the circumstances we need to cut them a bit of slack," he said.

The Press