On Tuesday July 7th, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce staff and Executive Committee members met with the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Sign By-law Taskforce to voice concerns and address the potential impact of the proposed new sign by-law on the business community. The Chamber’s underlying concerns have been previously outlined in a position paper, released earlier this year.
The Chamber has two primary areas of concern including time restrictions that would limit businesses to having three 30-day permits issued annually and third party advertising.
The Chamber maintains that restricting the number of permits issued to a business would have a detrimental effect on both signage businesses as well as businesses which rely on mobile signs as a means of advertising. The Chamber proposed alternative measures that would call for city-wide annual limits on the number of mobile signs versus limits put on individual businesses.
Chamber President Monica Dale states that “The proposed alternative measures would help the by-law achieve its primary goal of limiting the number of mobile signs in our community without straining a business’s advertising practices”
The second area of concern is the proposed ban on third party advertising on signage. This would make it illegal for a business to display any advertising content for services not offered on its premises. In this regard, it was suggested by the Chamber that the by-law regulate only as much as is necessary to achieve its stated goals.
“Limiting third party advertising could have negative impacts on a business’s ability to expand their advertising capabilities to different areas of Sault Ste. Marie. If a business is located in relatively low traffic area, why shouldn’t they have the ability to advertise in heavier travelled areas of the city?” Dale asks.
She suggests that the meeting was an overall successful exchange of views and ideas, noting that “the meeting hopefully represents the beginning of a strong relationship between the City and a large stakeholder group in the community. It is my intention that the Chamber and the City work as partners on these types of initiatives rather than opposing forces.”
The Chamber feels that the meeting was constructive, with the taskforce taking the agency’s concerns seriously. The Chamber anticipates that the taskforce will work to incorporate the issues identified at the meeting into the by-law process.
The Chamber continuously works to advocate on behalf of the business community. Dale adds that “we want to make Sault Ste. Marie the best place to do business and advertising is an important component to doing business. We want our members to know that the Chamber has refined its advocacy strategy and will participating in meetings like this while forming meaningful working relationships with all three levels of government and other stakeholder groups in the area.”
Tuesday’s meeting represents progressive steps toward resolving the Chamber’s concerns while also achieving the Taskforce’s goals of creating a fair by-law. Dale concludes by stating that she is pleased with the steps taken and is confident that further collaboration on this topic will lead to the Chamber supporting the by-law when it’s presented to council.