'Bad signs' for Noosa business returns
NOOSA'S proposed council signage changes have been branded anti-business by a long-term local businessman who fears they could force prospective enterprises to open up shop elsewhere on the Sunshine Coast.
Developer and owner of Noosaville's Acres commercial centre, Ralph Rogers, believes the proposal to shift signage controls from part of the planning process to a local law management process would be another blow for struggling business.
Part of the proposals are for a ban on "temporary advertising devices not in character with Noosa”.
These include those causing the "main compliance issues including tear drop flags, sandwich board A-frame signs and real-estate directional signs”.
"None of us want this to be a Parramatta Rd and, yes, there may be odd occasion where the odd a-frame is pretty bloody annoying, but that's no reason to tear the essence out of this place,” he said.
"This is just another indication (of council) being business unfriendly. It's not fair,” Mr Rogers said.
"The level of regulation that's in here (the proposed council changes) is just unbelievable,” Mr Rogers said.
He said the "devil” was in the proposed detail of the changes.
"Business in this town is doing it tough and that's not recognised by council.
"And in the last eight weeks, I guess it's been blow after blow after blow against business,” the businessman said .
"When we had the economic forum (run by council), a lot of us put a lot of time into that, and none if it was incorporated into the town plan.
"It just seems like business is being tolerated but not nurtured.”
He said the new signage reforms are "so incredibly complicated”.
"It's unworkable because there's so much to digest and a lot of what's here is arbitrary ... such as (the look of the sign) not in keeping with the Noosa (style) theme,” Mr Rogers said.
If the changes are implemented Mr Rogers fears business signage "which is an important person part of a person's marketing strategy” will be rendered ineffective.
Mr Rogers said the dictate that signs will not cause an environmental nuisance or distraction is too open to interpretation.
"Who's going to decide that?”
And Mr Rogers said the proposed ban on illuminated signage after 11pm, does not take into account 24-hour business operations such as service stations.
Council director of environment and sustainable development Kim Rawlings said there is minimal change proposed between the current sign requirements and those suggested in the draft local law.
"We have always regulated signage and the proposed local laws may appear a bit legalistic, but there are only a few key changes to what council currently regulates," she said.
"For example there is no proposal to change the controls for when an illuminated sign can be switched on or off. The new local law would be the same as it is now and has been for some time."
"Council's primary focus is to better manage A-frames, tear drop flags and real estate directional signs. Council's approach to signage is to ensure a level playing field for all Noosa based businesses," she said.
Ms Rawlings said council has had a long standing approach to minimising signage to ensure the shire retains its character and its look and feel, in line with the Noosa design principles.
"No final decisions have been made as the local laws are in draft form and that is why we encourage any business or resident to provide comment through Your Say Noosa."
All submissions will be carefully considered. The consultation period ends Friday July 26.
The local law proposes to:
§ introduce an approvals process for wall, window, pylon, freestanding, pole and all illuminated signs;
§ issue approvals with 12 months validity with annual renewal, payment and compliance declaration required;
§ introduce annual approval licence renewals and payment for existing businesses with sign types that require approval under the local law. Sign face area definition.
For shopping centres the local law proposes a sign management plan to be submitted for shopping centres and introduce a maximum sign face area requirement of 10sqm per building façade one pole or pylon sign per street frontage.