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Billboard? What billboard?

By Paul Costigan - 27 January 2016 19

billboard-Ainslie-P1160433

Billboards have long been part of our culture and have been popping up here there and anywhere all over the place throughout the world. We seem to love to clutter up our landscape with anything that makes money.

A visit to Tokyo includes, whether you want to or not, the viewing of walls of illuminated billboards on the sides of buildings and anywhere else they can find to squeeze them.

Tokyo-L1040326

Drive off into the countryside here in Australia and the billboards take various forms and advertise just about anything. Most are big and bold and designed to catch your attention was you drive past. Not all are attractive and not all succeed.

cooma-32KFC

In Canberra, we do not have billboards. They have been banned for most of Canberra’s history. The exception being church signs, the occasional real estate development notice of new estates being built and the special ones erected for special events. Schools have also taken to having a large sign to provide dates, enrollment notices and sometimes some well-meaning slogans.

A decade or so ago a company received permission to place advertisements in the bus shelters around town. At the time there was a few objections to these, but despite that they remain. The bus shelters that come with the illuminated signs consist of basic metal designs – they are not very attractive and provide just enough shelter on most days and very little on others.

But then there is the case of what can be seen along on the eastern side of Limestone Avenue on the side of the football field just past the corner with Wakefield.

As with most sports fields, there are advertising places around the edges – usually involving sponsors and in the case of televised games, carefully placed signs to be captured during the live coverage.

However the billboards alongside the Ainslie sports field have been placed just inside the fence and are facing out — away from the punters inside the field. The placement of these billboards seems to fly in the face of the intent behind banning roadside billboards.

Worse than that, most are badly designed with one not even telling you where to find the business being advertised. A couple of the others are almost unreadable to passing traffic. The end result is clutter. Is this is what is allowed these days?

billboards-Ainslie-P1160437

If the placement of these roadside billboards is allowed through some loophole, one wonders who else could place a billboard inside their fence line and collect that extra bit of advising revenue. Maybe Canberra’s many churches should cease telling us about God and being good, and they could get to work placing signage that will be bring in income to paint that roof or to provide for those new chairs.

I suspect that the billboards at Ainslie have appeared because the law covering roadside billboards is silent on organisations having such signs within their fences but facing the road. Not good.

I suggest this is one for the Minister to consider if he/she is interested in maintaining the basis of the policies for Canberra that define the aesthetic urban features that are encouraged and those that are disallowed.

Then again, maybe I could have a large billboard or two in my front yard and raise funds for that next holiday!

What’s Your opinion?


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19 Responses to
Billboard? What billboard?
Ryoma 11:31 am 29 Jan 16

Mysteryman said :

“A visit to Tokyo includes, whether you want to or not, the viewing of walls of illuminated billboards on the sides of buildings and anywhere else they can find to squeeze them.”

If you’re visiting Tokyo and *don’t* want to see those sights, then why are you visiting Tokyo? Much of the beauty of a country like Japan is the stark contrast between the dense, frantic, illuminated cityscapes of places like Tokyo, and the quiet, rural, peaceful atmosphere of small villages and towns that are dotted about the country, and the forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls that connect them all.

I actually prefer that contrast and the beauty found in it, to the bland, “everything looks the same” aesthetic that defines Canberra and surrounding region. I’d rather a bit more colour thrown in to the mix, instead of the all-beige palette we’ve adopted.

Well said, Mysteryman. While not all of Japan is attractive (Osaka is particularly ugly, although the people are very friendly, and the food wonderful, which goes a long way to make up for it), even Japan’s smaller cities have much to see and experience. Fukuoka, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are particularly good.

I’d like to see far more innovation in the apartments that get built. The stuff along Flemington Road, is almost without exception, ugy dogboxes built in straight lines. Why do so few of our developers use their imaginations and put some curves in their buildings. More to the point, why are so many people attracted to such ugly garbage?

dungfungus 10:35 am 29 Jan 16

Bolbi said :

The National Museum has started sullying the night-time Canberra skyline with their advertisements, visible from a kilometre away. If it was a fast food chain there would be outrage.

That sounds like it could be an improvement for the ugliest building in Australia.

Bolbi 7:37 pm 28 Jan 16

The National Museum has started sullying the night-time Canberra skyline with their advertisements, visible from a kilometre away. If it was a fast food chain there would be outrage.

gazket 5:21 pm 28 Jan 16

Beijing our sister city has moved to ban billboards promoting a luxurious lifestyle.
Labor/Greens adopted policy ?

dungfungus 9:12 am 28 Jan 16

dlenihan said :

Billboard? What billboard?

What about the mobile billboards. Special purpose trucks parked that flout the legislation and to litter the landscape.

One in the city that feels it is OK to park in loading zones for days at a time, a fitness centre in the Tuggernong area that parks on main roads about the place.

The worst is when they park on the on ramp of the Monaro Hwy at Fyshwich, adding more confusion for the local citizens to merge without major incident.

I would like to know what the legality of this mobile pollution actually is.

It must be legal because Action buses are now doing the same thing.

dlenihan 9:19 pm 27 Jan 16

Billboard? What billboard?

What about the mobile billboards. Special purpose trucks parked that flout the legislation and to litter the landscape.

One in the city that feels it is OK to park in loading zones for days at a time, a fitness centre in the Tuggernong area that parks on main roads about the place.

The worst is when they park on the on ramp of the Monaro Hwy at Fyshwich, adding more confusion for the local citizens to merge without major incident.

I would like to know what the legality of this mobile pollution actually is.

niknak 8:57 pm 27 Jan 16

I have a lot to complain about but have never thought to complain about the billboards on the Ainslie oval.

No, I prefer to reserve my complaints for the numerous cars which park with impunity on the nature strip in front of the Bass, Geo, Tate development directly opposite the Ainslie playing fields.

Why is that allowed? By TAMS or the body corporate? The sight of all those illegally parked cars tears up the nature strip, creates a safety hazard and reduces the complex to something akin to a third world slum, particularly when it rains.

The apartments themselves are adequate (if that’s your bag) but I know quite a few who simply will not buy into the complex for residential or investment purposes because of the visual pollution.

farq 6:25 pm 27 Jan 16

Don’t forget all the suburban bus shelters with advertising (approved by the Labor party) that shit all over the ideals of Canberra.

For the cost of a covered bench, the ACT government was willing to sell out one of the most fundamental things that makes Canberra a better city than most.

miz 5:30 pm 27 Jan 16

There is a massive (graffitied) billboard on Isabella Drive advertising a retirement village. When I rang inquiring how this was allowed I was told they had paid the Govt to have it there.
So, I have concluded that billboards are technically banned unless you sufficiently grease the right palm. It is simply inconsistent and smacks of corruption.

dungfungus 3:49 pm 27 Jan 16

Mysteryman said :

“A visit to Tokyo includes, whether you want to or not, the viewing of walls of illuminated billboards on the sides of buildings and anywhere else they can find to squeeze them.”

If you’re visiting Tokyo and *don’t* want to see those sights, then why are you visiting Tokyo? Much of the beauty of a country like Japan is the stark contrast between the dense, frantic, illuminated cityscapes of places like Tokyo, and the quiet, rural, peaceful atmosphere of small villages and towns that are dotted about the country, and the forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls that connect them all.

I actually prefer that contrast and the beauty found in it, to the bland, “everything looks the same” aesthetic that defines Canberra and surrounding region. I’d rather a bit more colour thrown in to the mix, instead of the all-beige palette we’ve adopted.

” I’d rather a bit more colour thrown in to the mix…….”
Like the Technicolor yawns in Civic after midnight?

Mysteryman 12:30 pm 27 Jan 16

“A visit to Tokyo includes, whether you want to or not, the viewing of walls of illuminated billboards on the sides of buildings and anywhere else they can find to squeeze them.”

If you’re visiting Tokyo and *don’t* want to see those sights, then why are you visiting Tokyo? Much of the beauty of a country like Japan is the stark contrast between the dense, frantic, illuminated cityscapes of places like Tokyo, and the quiet, rural, peaceful atmosphere of small villages and towns that are dotted about the country, and the forests, mountains, rivers and waterfalls that connect them all.

I actually prefer that contrast and the beauty found in it, to the bland, “everything looks the same” aesthetic that defines Canberra and surrounding region. I’d rather a bit more colour thrown in to the mix, instead of the all-beige palette we’ve adopted.

Mysteryman 12:22 pm 27 Jan 16

Holden Caulfield said :

Never mind these relatively insignificant billboards at Ainslie Footy Club, that are setback quite a distance from the road and partly obscured by mature trees… what about the billboards all over the Canberra Centre car park? Or that terribly bright and dreadfully lo-resolution electronic billboard on the National Convention Centre (especially distracting at night)? That’s an eyesore in every sense!

It’s been replaced with a brighter, higher resolution version.

Ghettosmurf87 11:29 am 27 Jan 16

Tackling the hard-hitting issues of inner north Canberra now, aren’t we Paul.

I’m sure that if some business thought that anyone would pay attention to what was in your yard, they would be happy to pay you for the value they think they could get out of it. However I’m sure that’s unlikely to match the cost of producing the sign at all.

What real difference is this to people putting up signs showing that their roof was done by “Re-Act Roofing”, in exchange for a discount on the cost of the installation?

If a commercial enterprise wishes to display signage within its property, why should that be restricted? Where do you draw the line? Must it be placed 1m inside their property? 10m? 100m? Everyone notices different things and some are more likely to complain about the smallest things than others who realise that their lives are not affected at all by some sign inside a private property that they can barely read and is hardly eye-catching.

dungfungus 11:14 am 27 Jan 16

Holden Caulfield said :

Never mind these relatively insignificant billboards at Ainslie Footy Club, that are setback quite a distance from the road and partly obscured by mature trees… what about the billboards all over the Canberra Centre car park? Or that terribly bright and dreadfully lo-resolution electronic billboard on the National Convention Centre (especially distracting at night)? That’s an eyesore in every sense!

Welcome to Canberra, sister city to Nara and Beijing and home of the Ngunawall people etc.

Holden Caulfield 9:23 am 27 Jan 16

Never mind these relatively insignificant billboards at Ainslie Footy Club, that are setback quite a distance from the road and partly obscured by mature trees… what about the billboards all over the Canberra Centre car park? Or that terribly bright and dreadfully lo-resolution electronic billboard on the National Convention Centre (especially distracting at night)? That’s an eyesore in every sense!

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