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City approves oversized billboard near Canfor

So-called “super-size billboards” will be allowed in Grande Prairie. An amendment to city bylaws will let larger billboards to be placed in select locations, with the first approved for 108 Street near 87 Avenue and Canfor.

The owner of Driver Advertising, Murray Driver, brought the issue to city council this week. Staff had recommended against the location initially, as there were concerns it could negatively affect traffic and the look of the area.

However, after further discussion with council the amendment and location were both approved. Driver presented other signage examples that were similar in dimension but positioned vertically, including signs around the Rio Can development near Grande Prairie Regional College.

“When we look at a number of the large signs around the city of Grande Prairie we don’t think much about them anymore because they’ve been there for a long time and they’re just part of the landscape,” Driver explains. “If you took any one of those large boards and put them in a different location or, perhaps, gave them a different orientation then people would look at them and say that’s different.”

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The city says each proposed location will be examined on a case-by-case basis. Driver doesn’t expect them to become the new normal.

“I think the city wants to take a bit of time and look at this one and evaluate it, see what the reaction is and what the impact of it is. Because of the size of these structures there are going to be a very limited number of locations where they will likely be reasonable to install.”

Billboards can have a maximum sign area 3.1 metres high and 6.1 metres wide. The newly added definition for Super-size Billboards means, when approved, the sign area can be 4.27 metres high by 14.63 metres wide.

This change only allows for “static billboards” or still images. Electronic boards that size are not currently being considered.

In 2015 the city took a number of steps to update their signage bylaws, but Driver says these large super boards were not a consideration in the market at this time. Monday night at city council he also said he was being cautious of the competition when he was part of the 2015 consultation process.

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