Letter to the editor 1, May 7, 2015

Dear Editor,

Concerning the proposal to allow electronic billboards in Beaconsfield (Your Local Journal, April 30)… Personally I am not in favor of such a structure in Beaconsfield, especially in view of the existing sign by-law and how rigorously it has been applied in the last 40 years. Mayor Bourelle states in excess of $300,000 annual lease for this potential billboard. This is a ridiculous offer for any such valuable site. Any prime commercial site like this one must demand a much higher value.

In fact its value must be tied to its revenue. Revenue from such a billboard is based on annual advertising value and a simplistic formula would indicate the revenue per sign as perhaps $10 million plus a year. Therefore an assumption of city revenue from such a billboard should be directly related to a percentage of the billboard’s advertising revenue. Say somewhere between 25 to 50 per cent. So the site’s value to the city must be in the millions not the hundreds of thousands. Once such a sign is allowed, then more signs will proliferate.

On this site perhaps as many as five or six billboards. If we consider allowing signs to be ranged in height from the proposed 15m to 30m or higher, then even more billboards can be erected. For reference, the FIDO cell tower is 60m tall and the walkway over the railway highway is about 8m. To conclude, if the city is considering this proposal from an advertising company then they must consider a counter proposal that would clearly benefit the city coffers. If several signs were considered and a revenue of millions per sign achieved then this would have an interesting financial impact on the city and perhaps convince residents who are concerned by quality of life requirements to consider a reduced tax bill as a trade-off.

Dennis Partington


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