Last July, the City of Pitt Meadows partnered in a digital billboard that brought the city revenue and a package of improvements.
This summer, the city is looking at adding another digital billboard or two along Lougheed Highway, and more lucrative deals.
Pattison Outdoor Advertising replaced all 15 of the city’s bus shelters, added six new benches, and provided a new digital sign for city hall.
The existing digital sign along the highway is 20 meters high and 52.5 square meters per side, and is directed at eastbound traffic coming off the Pitt River Bridge.
Staff presented council with potential sites for other signs, which must be at least half a kilometre away from the existing electronic billboard.
Councillors debated the merits of various sites, and directed staff to get more detail about potential sign locations on city land along the highway at Allen Way, and near Meadowtown Mall.
“I would not necessarily be opposed to both, given the six figures we might be able to get from those locations,” said Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker.
The city has not released the financial contribution Pattison offers Pitt Meadows to put the sign on its land, as the agreement stipulates confidentiality around financial details.
Coun. Janis Elkerton said she did not want to see the sign “anywhere near” an existing neighbourhood.
“It would not be fair to plop a digital sign right next to them.”
The existing sign has generated complaints in the past, but the new version has an automatic light sensor that makes it brighter during the day and dimmer at night.
Coun. Bill Dingwall noted Harris Road would be a poor choice for anything designed to get drivers’ attention.
“I don’t know that we want to distract any drivers at that intersection, just because of the volumes and the amount of accidents we already have,” he said, adding that council should choose a stretch of highway where drivers are staying in their lanes.
Staff will bring back more detailed site analysis for council to consider now that two options have been identified. This will include impacts to neighbouring properties and revenue generation.
Elkerton said the city needs to find alternate revenue sources in order to keep property tax rates from rising.
“We can’t just look to our taxpayers for every dollar we spend.”