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New Petawawa, Ont. sign bylaw restricting local businesses


A new bylaw in Petawawa, Ont., is restricting the ability for local businesses to advertise.

Passed in April 2023 and now coming into enforcement, the bylaw says all portable signs - such as standing black signs with removable letters - must be accompanied by a permit.

Permits for portable signs in Petawawa cost $30, only last for 30 days, and can only be purchased by a business four times per year.

Each day a sign is up without a permit incurs a $300 fine.

"Right now I'm up pretty much $4,000 in fines," says Kevin Holme, owner of Safe Guard Electric and Battery Pro in Petawawa.

Holme has had his portable street sign since 2019 and says the bylaw is unjust and restrictive to local businesses.

"It's the cheapest form of marketing that you can actually have. We can change the message, and then we have over 20,000 cars pass by here every single day," he says.

"I think somebody's got to stand their ground. All the signs pretty much have been removed from Petawawa."

The town says the bylaw was implemented to clean up the look of the town.

"There was quite a number from what's been described to me and it impacted the visuals of the boulevard," said town CAO Scott Randolph.

"We started off with 30 businesses that weren't in compliance. And now we only have two left."

The town says since the new bylaw was enacted, just four sign permits have been purchased.

"At times, we would have in excess of probably 20 to 25 signs," says Boyd Cochrane, owner of Boyd's Signs in the Ottawa Valley.

Cochrane says he is now renting out zero signs to businesses in Petawawa.

"We've been in the business for 50 plus years. I've never seen anything quite this ridiculous, as far as bylaws."

Cochrane works alongside competitor Robin Sjaarda, owner of Sun Sign Graphics, which operates out of neighbouring Laurentian Valley.

Sjaarda says the loss of business from sign rentals in Petawawa is equal to the paycheque for one of his employees.

"Some people, their portable sign was their only means of advertising," Sjaarda tells CTV News.

"They don't know how they're going to promote themselves. They have no curbside presence anymore."

Holme says he has not been served his fines yet, but has no plans to take down his sign.

"I'm not worried because I think people with common sense would say that, right now, businesses need all the support that they can get." Top Stories

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