Policy a sign of the times
By SALLY GORDON
ANDY Douglas, owner of South Grafton's Scale Automobilia and Big River Book Exchange, is furious the Clarence Valley Council intends to charge him $65 to have his a sign on the footpath outside his shop.
Mr Douglas believes the council's new Valley-wide policy on mobile signs, articles, merchandising and entertainment on public land is a 'blatant money grabbing' exercise.
He's also annoyed that council did not approach businesses by way of a letter drop to let them know directly about the new policy.
The council this week adopted a new policy for footpath advertising and street front merchandising that will cover all retail precincts throughout the Valley.
The policy, which initially will be introduced for a 12-month trial, is similar to one used in the former Maclean Shire Council area for sandwich board signs that required submission of public liability insurance, an annual renewal fee of $12 and an initial application for approval, which costs $65.
The policy also includes an impoundment fee of $40.
A number of Prince Street traders said they would be willing to pay the fees to keep their merchandise on the footpath, as it was an essen- tial tool for attracting customers.
The regulations have been in the public domain since March, through newspaper advertising and public display.
South Grafton's Emporium Cafe owner, Peter Freeman believed the policy was restrictive and costly for business owners, who already were trying to 'be cost effective'.
Waterview Heights resident Donald Power is one Valley resident, however, who would probably welcome moves to tighten controls for city footpaths. Mr Power has been functionally blind for the past seven years and told The Daily Examiner recently that he'd had a number of falls after running into footpath displays.