The City of Ottawa is being criticized for its recommendation to approve a massive electronic billboard at the new Ikea location, while ruling an Orleans cheese store should remove its signature cow from the roof.

City staff said the cow, which has stood on the roof of Cheddar Et Cetera for years, is too much of a distraction to drivers. Both the cow and the billboard are violating current city bylaws.

Jacques Leury, manager of Cheddar Et Cetera, said the cow helps his business.

"It was to help the store to have an identity, also to be able to spot the store," he said. "(It's) something different in the community.

Bob Monette, councilor for the store's ward, said the decision is unfair because the city recommended the new Ikea store in Nepean be allowed to install an 80 square metre billboard on its storefront.

"There's valid points about the larger billboard signs," he said. "Something like this, the council and community should have a say in the bylaw."

Monette said he has a petition with about 9,000 signatures to save the cow, and will present it to council next week.

"(The cow) represents the agricultural community, it represents our roots," he said. "People forget where we're standing right now used to be just farmland."

The city's planning committee will vote on both signs next week, and Monette said he's confident the cow will be allowed to stay.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Ellen Mauro