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2008 05 07
More Illegal SIgn Nonsense

The casual observer would assume by now that Toronto's illegal sign wars should be behind us now—the good guys won, right? Wrong. In spite of what you might have heard the signs are still with us. Here is the latest news from Rami Tabello:

Media Release, Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Strategic Media Inc., a billboard company that is operating about 30 illegal large-format vinyl wall signs in Toronto, has become the second media company to sue the City of Toronto over billboard enforcements.

Strategic Media's signs are familiar to Torontonians as it is the only company that operates third party signs without a company nameplate below the sign.

The latest lawsuit, filed on April 18, challenges the Etobicoke, North York and Toronto by-laws. Earlier this year, Titan Outdoor filed suit to quash Toronto's by-law. The new suit comes after the City Solicitor entered into an agreement with Titan Outdoor that will likely allow Titan to maintain 39 illegal billboards in the downtown core for at least three years.

"This new lawsuit is in fact a subterfuge. The Company's goal is not to win in court but to obtain the same sweetheart deal that Titan Outdoor obtained out of court," explains Rami Tabello, coordinator of IllegalSigns.ca who notes that Community Council rejected Titan Outdoor's variances only to have the City Solicitor allow Titan to maintain the signs. "Companies are obtaining de-facto variances from the City Solicitor that they can't obtain from City Council."

IllegalSigns.ca notes that since a 1983 amendment to the Municipal Act, the City has had authority under law to remove illegal billboards without recourse to the courts. In September 2005, City Council directed staff to remove all illegal billboards in the City "as soon as possible," and in June 2007, Council directed staff to remove Strategic Media's illegal billboard at the DVP and Highway 401.

"City Staff have refused to comply with City Council direction and entered into an agreement with Titan Outdoor without the advice or consent of City Council. They have also decided on a strategy to obtain $1,000 fines against illegal billboards instead of removing them," says Mr. Tabello who notes that the advertising companies have never obtained an injunction preventing the City from removing their illegal billboards.

The complaints against Titan and Strategic Media's signs were filed by IllegalSigns.ca.

A copy of the Strategic Media lawsuit is available on http://www.IllegalSigns.ca this morning, along with photos of Strategic Media's portfolio of illegal billboards.

Media Contact: Rami Tabello, Coordinator, IllegalSigns.ca
Phone: 416.822.3696
359 Palmerston Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario M6G 2N5

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 05/07 at 12:59 PM

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