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The LPOA is misguided THE BATTLE OF THE BILLBOARD

Leaside Arena Billboard

The current billboard at the arena.

I don’t have kids. Never will. It just isn’t a priority in my life. That doesn’t mean I can’t understand issues involving kids.

Recently, the powers that be at the Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA) have taken it upon themselves to exercise their democratic right to create problems for proposed digital signs in both Leaside and outside the M4G borders. It believes digital signs of any kind are a distraction to drivers and a significant threat to the general well-being of Leasiders.

A public consultation meeting was held May 12 at Leaside Memorial Community Gardens. Up for discussion was a Notice Of Application Sign By-Law Amendment to erect a new, and slightly bigger sign on the most easterly part of the arena parking lot immediately adjacent to Millwood Rd.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty of this proposal, the new sign will be 15 feet higher than the old, double-sided one. However, because it’s bigger and digital, it will generate an additional $35,000 in annual revenue (350 percent increase over current sign) for the arena. This is important to note because the hourly rates at the arena are already $20 higher than they were prior to the arena expansion. It desperately needs additional revenue streams. To greenlight the sign would likely mean no additional increases in ice time fees would be necessary for the foreseeable future.

The LPOA sent out an email to its subscriber list prior to the meeting reminding those in the community concerned about the impact digital signs will have on our “quality of life” to come out and express their views on the matter so city staff fully understand why the sign’s a bad idea. That’s me reading between the lines.

The actual message read:

“The proposed sign is at a height of 11 metres (35 feet) and is 3M high and 10.67M long, and to be placed on the Millwood Rd. frontage of the property. Currently, signs of this type are prohibited in the area. The LPOA is very concerned about this sign proposal and asks you to attend this meeting and voice your opinions.”

Geoff Kettel, co-president of the LPOA, attended that meeting expressing his concerns about the sign. He’s also expressed his opinions in this issue of the paper. I believe he, along with the LPOA, are misguided on this issue and if you feel the same, I invite you to contact LPOA to tell them so.

In my opinion, the distractions caused by signs of any kind, digital or otherwise, are minimal; no worse than the distractions caused by bicyclists riding on our main thoroughfares . Yet you don’t see the LPOA calling for a ban on bikes.

The paper has received  two  letters of support for the sign from people associated with the arena: One from arena board member Elaine Snider and a second from Jeff Munn, treasurer of the Leaside Hockey Association. They are important because they serve as a reminder to the residents of Leaside that the recreational pursuits enjoyed at the arena stand to benefit from the approval of this digital sign by the city.

Which brings me back to my opening about kids.

While adults also enjoy the arena facilities it is the children whose lives are truly enriched by these recreational pursuits. The LPOA talks about fighting for the Leaside we all know and love, but have they forgotten that hockey is an important part of the social fabric of this community? If so, then one can only conclude that an immense amount of money was wasted on a second rink at the arena.

Am I the only one who thinks an additional $35,000 in annual revenue to the arena is worth a bigger digital sign? I sure hope not.

We live in a big city that faces big issues. This isn’t one of them. For the kids’ sake, the LPOA needs to move along and find some other project to oppose.