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Letters to the editor – June 2016 THE BATTLE OF THE BILLBOARD

After more than 30 years it’s time to change the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens billboard. Technically speaking, the old sign no longer conforms to the city’s legal standards, and practically speaking the new proposed sign will afford the arena and the community many much-improved benefits.

While the new sign would be located in the same location as the old billboard, it would be created using the latest technology in both construction and communication, giving it a clean and contemporary aesthetic.

Here are three reasons why we are advocates for the new sign:

1. The new sign will generate four times the revenue at no cost to the Gardens or the community. The money will significantly impact the financial well-being of the Gardens and be used to off-set our ice costs.

2. The sign will have two sides, one dedicated to advertising (facing the railway tracks) and one exclusively for community and Gardens events and announcements (this side will be facing north into Leaside). It would be used for community organizations free of charge.

3. The new sign will have the arena name identifying the building and making it easy to spot while driving on Laird.

The board discussed at great lengths the pros and cons of the proposed sign, with the highest regard and respect for the community we all live and work in.

The level of light is the lowest possible ambient level and the board is committed to turning the north facing display off at any time after sunset that residents feel is necessary. The display facing the railway over-pass must be turned off by 11 p.m. as per city by-laws. The level of light is so low that at night one could not read a newspaper underneath the sign.

The new sign will be 10 feet by 35 feet, compared to the current 10 feet by 20 feet. Looking at the design, it’s clear it does not look out of place and fits very nicely with the Gardens’ existing aesthetic and architecture and offers improved sightlines.

We are advocates for the new proposed sign. The revenue and the ability to showcase our community and the Gardens that the new sign affords us is an opportunity for us all.

Please join us in giving your support by writing Councillor Jon Burnside via email here. For more information: Henry Stachelbeck at 416-421-4944.

Elaine Snider
Chair, 
Community Relations Committee Leaside Memorial Community Gardens Board of Management


The news you reported in last month’s issue (Digital sign means more $ for arena) is great news for our hockey families (as well as the Wildcat Hockey and Girls Skating, I suspect).

I attended the arena board meeting recently where the board noted ice-costs would likely remain the same if the by-law amendment is allowed and the sign installed. After years and years of increased ice-costs (across the city) – which has been passed onto our 1,300 member families each year – this initiative is a smart and beneficial one.

Great work arena board for finding and supporting this new revenue stream. For our Leaside Hockey Association members, we’re hoping to be able to hold the costs of our program next year (and beyond) so any verbal or email support to Councillor Jon Burnside would be valued.

Jeff Munn
Fleming Cres.
Treasurer, 
Leaside Hockey Association


On Thursday, May 12, I appeared along with two other people from Outfront Media Canada at a public consultation involving our company’s application to convert our existing billboard sign at the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens to a sign with digital capabilities.

There (were) several detractors, and with sincere respect to those people, their objections seemed to be ideological in nature, and justified by questionable assumptions. For your readers, we would like to respond (to some objections) here.

The notion that a sign causes an undue safety hazard, or undue driver distraction, has long ago been debunked as untrue.

In point of fact, and related to digital signs specifically, the City of Toronto recently reviewed the empirical data, conducted its own studies afresh, and then passed an amendment to the sign by-law allowing much wider approvals for digital signs than had previously been the case.

And the city has dozens of digital signs installed on its own transit shelters located on road allowance. At the public consultation, city staff spoke to the data that the city relied on in making those decisions.

One or two attendees were concerned that the approval of the subject sign might set a precedent, and that, presumably the floodgates would open and that the community would be over-run with digital signs. Firstly, a sign by-law amendment such as the one we are seeking is specific to the subject property. Were it to be granted, it has no applicability whatsoever to any other property.

The fact of the matter is that the provisions of the sign by-law make it almost impossible to construct a new third party sign anywhere in Leaside, and we have not done so in the past 10 years, at least.

The notion that this approval might result in the community being peppered with new signs is specious at best.

In closing, the sign we are proposing for Leaside Community Gardens would represent a vast improvement over the sign that is there now, and a betterment in general for the Leaside community.

We welcome questions.

Stephen McGregor
Vice-president, Real Estate, Outfront Media Canada
416-521-6410