Butcher adamant he won't chop signs

Signs 'not intrusive'

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2014
butcher with sign
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
NOT MOVING: Export Meats owner Mark McDonald is refusing to move his signs to comply with council bylaws.
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A Church St shop owner is defiant in the face of council threats to confiscate his signs if he does not move them, while a fellow business owner claims he has lost 50 per cent of sales by being compliant.

The signs attached to outer veranda posts have been in place for 14 years at Export Meats but one public complaint has spurred the Timaru District Council into taking action.

Butcher Mark McDonald has received six letters over the last six months from the council requesting sign removal or they may be confiscated and he will be fined for non-compliance of bylaw 213.3.

"They don't understand how important they [signs] are," he said. Through an informal survey of his customers Mr McDonald found the signs were the most effective form of advertising.

"They are not a hindrance they do not get in the way," Mr McDonald said.

A council staff member told Mr McDonald the signs could obstruct car doors.

"But they are on yellow lines, cars can't park there," Mr McDonald said.

He believes the signs are an integral part of his business and he's not prepared to relocate them at right angles hard against his store front to be compliant.

"That would create more of a hazard than where they are now."

Business owner Murray Gibson of Gibson's Hairdressers and Tobacconists, also on Church St, reluctantly changed the placement of his signs after a visit from the council last year. As far as he is aware there was no complaint.

Mr Gibson calls himself a "law-abiding ratepayer" but thinks the bylaw is "pathetic". "They [the signs] were not obtrusive," he said.

Like Mr McDonald's signs, Mr Gibson's were also a metre above the ground on veranda posts. "Sales [of the advertised items] have dropped by half so I have less money to pay rates," Mr Gibson said.

Yesterday, a quick count of permanent poles and temporary obstacles on the outer footpath on one side of Church St from Otipua Rd to Le Cren St revealed 14, including, bus stops, street and speed signs as well as recently emptied wheelie bins and a New Zealand Post box.

The Timaru District Council did not comment on the issue.

THE SIGNS BYLAW

Timaru District Council bylaw on signs:

213.3: Where a sign is in the opinion of council dangerous or creating hazardous conditions for traffic or pedestrians, notice may be given requiring the sign to be removed.

If the person on whom such notice has been served fails to comply with the terms of the notice within the time stated therein they will commit an offence under this chapter of the bylaw. Council shall remove any illegal or dangerous sign. 

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- The Timaru Herald

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