AN unauthorised billboard in Stirling has neighbours grumbling after discovering the council wasn’t going to order its removal due to a technicality.
The developers of the Adair Parade/Walcott Street block put up a massive sign spruiking their apartments, but did not get approval from Stirling council as required under local law.
Across the street in neighbouring Vincent, they might have expected a swift order to take it down, as its council views billboards as a mercantile eyesore.
But in Stirling it’s “certainly not a priority”, mayor Mark Irwin said at the March 21 council meeting.
Coolbinia resident Goya Zheng spoke at public question times and said the billboard arrived on March 1, making it than 20 days without an investigation from the council.
“Why does it take this long to investigate a sign that went up without council approval,” Ms Goya asked.
“How do we stop this from remaining up at this stage?”
Neighbour Deirdre Allen said the sign has “now been artistically graffitied quite extensively, very quickly, with black tags all over it and it’s become an eyesore.
“Why hasn’t it been ordered to take be taken down?”
Mr Irwin said the city was reluctant to restrict developers having signs up promoting their development if they were in tune with standard signage.
“I know they’re never pleasant when you’ve got a development happening in your area,” Mr Irwin said.
A council staff member said they’d acted within a day to issue a letter to the developer “asking them to remove the sign”. But the developers chose to lodge an application for retrospective approval instead, and “that compliance investigation is essentially, for lack of a better word, put on hold… so there is no ability for the City to enforce removal of the sign at that stage”.
A wave of discontented murmuring spread through the crowd as they learned how flimsy the rules were.
Ms Zheng asked if the council would be so forgiving if it was an ordinary homeowner who’d breached a local law and not a developer.
Mr Irwin said it’d be treated the same way, and said ordering removals was “the last thing the community would want us to do every time we get a complaint, whether it be a sign or a residential property… it would be a lot of resources to use when the sign could potentially then just go back up the next week”.
by DAVID BELL