An impact study on new LED billboards, that council approved in July including for one on York Mills Road, east of Leslie Street, will be conducted after the signs are put up.
Ward 25 councillor Jaye Robinson, who voted against the signs told the Town Crier that while looking through the document, she discovered the construction of the signs had been fast-tracked, and that they are expected to be up and running either at the end of this year, or early next.
“I thought the impact studies would influence whether they actually physically go up,” she said. “But when we reviewed the report, there was a line there stating otherwise.”
The sign would be replacing an existing sign that is currently on railway grounds owned by Metrolinx and overlooks the bridge on York Mills between Scarsdale and Lesmill roads. Metrolinx says that advertising revenue from the sign would go toward its transit projects.
Following a public consultation on the York Mills sign in May, Robinson was still on the fence about whether or not to support the signs, but took some comfort in thinking they were still a couple years off because there would be an impact study ahead of time, the results of which would influence the likelihood of the signs being constructed.
Now, she says the signs will act more as a pilot project for future signs.
This echoes a main concern of Don Mills Residents Association president Terry West, who said back in May that he was worried the signs could be setting a precedent. At the time he said he felt the signs would be commercializing neighbourhoods.
“I still feel that way,” he said when reached by phone Sept. 6. “There’s no question about that.”
West said the impact study being done after the instalment of the signs is ridiculous.
“Once they’re up, they’re not going to take them down,” he said. “It just seems silly to me, I’m surprised.”
While Robinson said it may be the case that city staff wanted to study the signs themselves as opposed to others for the impact study,
West still thinks the process is backward.
“There are these type of billboards already up, so why do they have to put these up before they measure the impact?” he said. “I’m sure from [Don Mills Residents Association’s] point of view, this is doing things backward.”
Robinson said she would have preferred to have things done in that order as well, since other studies are done that way.
“When you look at the planning process, they do all the shadowing impact studies in advance of approval and they do all the traffic studies in advance of approval,” she said. “I would have preferred to see the impact studies done in advance of them actually being constructed.”
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