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Loss of public space? Bloor Annex to unveil decorative covers to combat street clutter

February 22nd, 2011 · 4 Comments

By Lindsay Tsuji

Decorative pole covers are going up on Bloor Street in an effort to prevent postering and graffiti in the Annex, but not everyone agrees it’s a good idea.

At a recent meeting at Kilgour’s Bar Meets Grill (509 Bloor St. W.), the board of representatives of the Bloor Annex Business Improvement Area discussed their plans. “Our biggest concern is street cleanliness with regards to postering and graffiti,” said chair Wade McCullum. “It isn’t easy to get cleaned and people automatically re-post things right away. This is an opportunity to re-brand the neighbourhood.”

Flyers advertising local indie bands, martial arts classes, and concert events, amongst many other things,  can be seen plastered on utility poles up and down Bloor Street.

The proposed pole covers are set to be 14 feet long, which will cover most of pole’s length, said Elena Flores, account executive at Street Graffiti Solutions, the company responsible for the pole covers.

They are made of a plastic material that doesn’t allow tape or staples to adhere to the posts.

The Koreatown neighbourhood has had similar covers for about a year and a half and have seen a reduction in posters in the neighbourhood, said McCallum.

“Poles that have been covered no longer have a postering problem,” Flores said. “It costs a lot for the city and the community to clean up.”

The total costs for this project won’t be determined until a decision about the logo is finalized.

The BIA estimates the base cost will be $619 per sleave, with as many as 35 poles being covered initially in the area. The total budget for the project is estimated to be $34,000, split halfway between the BIA and the city.

But some independent business owners and public space advocates see postering as an effective and free way to get messages across to the public, and aren’t happy to see these spaces gone.

“Placing community posters on utility poles is a perfectly legal albeit regulated activity in Toronto,” said Johnathan Goldsbie, campaign coordinator for the Toronto Public Space Committee. The current bylaw, adopted by council in 2006, attempts to establish a distinction between community and commercial posters.

It states that posters for community events, local culture, and services are permitted to display posters on utility poles.

McCallum maintains that the postering is an eyesore, and there are already plenty of public spaces in the Annex to get your message across. “Businesses are eager to put up signage on poles, but expect the city to clean it up,” McCallum said. “There are spaces like message boards at the corner of Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street available for community groups to use. But at the end of the day, hydro poles aren’t public space.”

“[Pole covers] would not be good for us,” said Mariam Mekvabishvili, store clerk at Buck-o-Books (758 Bathurst St.), a store which heavily posters in the area. “It has generated a lot of traffic and customers for us. Most of the people who come in heard of us through the posters.”

The pole covers will be ready this spring, in time for the annual Bloor Street Festival.

Tags: News · General

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tweets that mention Loss of public space? Bloor Annex to unveil decorative covers to combat street clutter -- // Feb 22, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Torontoist and sioron, Rob E.. Rob E. said: Or reclaiming it? MT @gleanernews: Loss of public space? Bloor-Annex decorative pole covers to combat street clutter. […]

  • 2 Mess Is in the Eye of the Beholder | One Stop News Stand // Feb 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    […] Earlier this week, the Annex Gleaner reported that the Bloor Annex Business Improvement Area intended to end the prolific postering of the stretch between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue with specially made light pole covers that are supposed to repel both tape and staples. [ more › […]

  • 3 The weekly wrap for March 4, 2011 « West Annex News // Mar 4, 2011 at 12:06 am

    […] Bloor-Annex BIA intends to take away your right to free speech. Lindsay Tsuji exposes the BIA disturbing plan to put up decorative pole covers on Bloor Street West to stop postering. [Annex […]

  • 4 Sid // Mar 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Great news! Finally, this ugly ‘street spam’ that wastes so much paper and makes the city look so run down will finally be tackled. To those businesses opposed: instead of plastering ads everywhere, work with the local shopkeepers, place bulletin boards *inside* stores, and actually *protect* public spaces by preventing them from being bombarded with ads. Isn’t that what protecting public spaces is all about?