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City moves ahead with sign bylaw changes

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The rules about sizing, placement and amount of signs in Grande Prairie are about to change. For the first time since 2016, City council has approved 12 changes to its current sign bylaws. SpeedPro Signs Owner Dave Metituk says these most recent revisions will make signmakers’ lives easier.

“When the bylaws were revised we went from 16 years of being in business and never having to apply for a variance for a simple sign to every single time we apply for a sign we had to get a variance and that takes a lot of people’s time… That was the bulk of the small revisions, just to streamline and make everyone’s process smoother.”

The idea for this round of changes was first brought up by Metituk and a few other signmakers in March 2018. Since then, they have worked with the city to propose a number of adjustments including adding a distance requirement for third-party advertising and increasing the size of electronic message displays and billboards.

One change that concern people in the city are the ones being made to electronic signs. Under the current regulations, electronic message displays can take up 25 per cent of the area on a freestanding sign, and require a minimum six-second frame duration. Under the new changes, they can now take up 50 per cent of the sign and have a longer frame duration.

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Local woman Susan Schneider says that while she knows electronic signs are the future, with more signs comes more light pollution.

“It is the modern world but with everything, there are pros and cons. With more signage, if they are larger, they will be digital. You know there’s going to be more light pollution.”

Metituk says the point of the changes was not to add more bright, flashy signs to the Grande Prairie landscape. He says overly bright signs may not be working right.

“If you see one that’s bright, please don’t think that it’s the intent to blast out a bunch of light. They have two different types of sensors in different types of weather conditions. The sensor can malfunction.”

Metituk says that if people are concerned they can call the city or the sign owner to see if it can be fixed.

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