By on October 24, 2011

Residents and business owners of Osoyoos were given the chance to address concerns on the proposed, and ever-controversial, sign bylaw during a public hearing held at the Sonora Community Centre on Tuesday, October 11.
About 10 of the roughly 30 people who made their way to the meeting chose to address the panel, which included all members of Town council, Mayor Stu Wells and director of planning and development services, Alain Cunningham.
Before the meeting got underway, all those in attendance were given a seventh draft of the bylaw, which included eight different revisions made based on the 12 meetings Town staff conducted with business owners and stakeholders over the past few months.
Those revisions include everything from changes in permit rules, the requirement of LED lighting, policies regarding external and internal awning illumination and more.
Also presented at the meeting was a copy of a petition containing signatures from nearly 100 business owners in Osoyoos. The petition outlined three requests: allow the business owners of Osoyoos more time to study both the positive and negative effects of a sign bylaw; form a committee of business owners who would take responsibility for providing awareness to the community, and; finally, allow the committee the opportunity to work with the Town in shaping the bylaw to “reflect an effective solution for all stakeholder businesses in the community of Osoyoos.”
However, those weren’t the only requests the panel received from the business community. Of the ten different speakers who addressed council, a number of additional issues were raised. Derrald Ulry from Osoyoos Signs said he was concerned with the ban on moving-graphic signs, while Bill Robertson from MacDonald Realty said he would like to see the areas surrounding Osoyoos included in the bylaw. Living out of town he sees a number of distracting signs while driving in every day.
Other concerns raised during the meeting included the cost of sign permits and LED lighting, informing business owners of the bylaw and how it might affect them, how the purposed committee would be formed and the restriction on the number of fascia signs a business is allowed to display.
But overall, if there had to be one main message the businesses were trying to get across, it was simply that more time is needed before the Town moves ahead with such a complicated bylaw. A number of people said they understand the need for such a bylaw, but there was an overwhelming feeling that with all the different variables, it would not be reasonable to move forward anytime soon.
At the October 17 Regular Meeting of Council, it was recommended and approved that Cunningham and staff provide council with a report at the November 7 Council meeting outlining the issues raised during the last public hearing, additional recommendations made by stakeholders and provide further options for public consultation after the municipal election. In the meantime, Wells is recommending businesses have assessments done on their signage to see where they stand within the purposed bylaw.
A copy of the seventh draft of the sign bylaw can be found online at http://www.osoyoos.ca/siteengine/activepage.asp?NewsID=368 by clicking on the link for the ‘Osoyoos Sign Bylaw No 1282, 2011’.

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