Plateau bans billboards in unanimous vote
The Plateau Mont-Royal borough council has voted unanimously in favour of banning billboards.
The by-law passed in a 7-0 vote that will force the borough's 45 billboards to come down in November 2011.
Projet Montreal councillor Alex Norris calls the advertisements a form of visual pollution.
"There are many ways for advertisers to get their messages out. They don't need to have massive, ugly billboards scarring our urban landscape," said Norris.
The ban is illegal, argues Jeannot Lefebvre who represents the billboard companies. The group issued a lawyer's letter to the borough.
"In the Montreal charter, it's not written that you can ban something. So there is no rule. If we have to, we will go to the court," said Lefebvre.
Lefebvre said he's worried about the possibility of lost jobs should other boroughs also ban the giant ads.
To prevent a legal battle, the companies are willing to compromise, he said.
"Maybe we can modify, change it, relocate it. But just to ban, it's not an answer," he said.
Plateau council argues it has the support of the citizens based on a recent Leger Marketing poll.
The poll, issued by The Gazette in Sept. 2010 showed that 43 per cent of Plateau residents are in favour of the ban, while 39 per cent do not support it. Another 18 per cent were undecided.
Norris said he isn't concerned about the legal threat and believes the by-law will hold up both in court and the court of public opinion.