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Weyburn council rejects digital billboard at busy intersection

The 2021 Youth Council was introduced at the city council meeting
WEYBURN – An application to set up a digital billboard at the busy intersection of Highway 39 and Government Road/Highway 35 was rejected by Weyburn city council on Monday night, citing concerns with the proposed location.

The application was to locate the billboard in front of the Travelodge, but objections were raised by the Weyburn Police Service, engineering department and the ministry of Highways, all citing issues with the proximity to the busy highways and causing distractions to the drivers.

The City’s zoning bylaw stipulates that no portion of a billboard sign can be closer than 23 metres of an intersection, measured from the intersection of property lines.

The bylaw also lays out a sight line triangle which protects the ability of drivers to have a clear line of sight at an intersection, and the requirement is for any billboard to be 7.6 m from the point of intersection, explained Janine Fletcher, development officer.

The proposal for this billboard is to be half a metre from the north property line, and four metres from the east property line, she noted, far from meeting the requirement to be set back 23m.

A representative for the billboard company spoke with council on speaker-phone, and said this distance requirement of 23 metres is highly unusual compared to other centres.

Asked if there is another location in Weyburn where this digital billboard could go, the representative said he’s driven around the city many times and this was the best location they could find to place the billboard. He added he’s been looking at Weyburn for the past five years wanting to put in one of these billboards, and noted there is a demand for it from local businesses.

“The signs aren’t cheap. The returns on the investment provided is quite long, so the location has to be a viable one,” he added. “There aren’t many other locations in Weyburn that meet that requirement.”

“I realize it’s probably an ideal location,” said Coun. Mel Van Betuw, adding he would not support the application because agencies like Highways, engineering and the police had real concerns about the location.

Councillors expressed the wish to be able to work with the billboard company, but were unanimous in their vote that this application will not work.

Mayor Marcel Roy suggested that the company will need to have more discussions with the development officer to find a way to meet the setback requirement or find a new location.

• In other council news, the new youth council was introduced at the meeting, including youth mayor Dalton Molnar, secretary Gracyn Knipfel, and councillors Nikola Erasmus, Josh Wiens and Erika Sinn.

Molnar told council they are grateful for the opportunity to provide input to the city on issues that are of interest to the city’s youth.

“As the youth mayor, I’m excited for what our group can accomplish this year,” he said.

Coun. Jeff Richards, who introduced the group, noted the youth council act in an advisory capacity to council and provide a channel of communication between the city’s youth and city council.