Municipality to crack down on illegal trailers
Foothills: Council will look at higher fines for highway advertising
Wednesday, Apr 10, 2013 04:38 pm
The MD of Foothills is undertaking a blitz to eliminate trailers peddling everything from new homes to landscaping that are cluttering highways within the municipality.
At their April 3 public meeting Foothills MD council discussed options to address the growing problem of illegal trailers parked alongside major highways that are being used as advertising billboards.
According to MD bylaws the trailers cannot be used as advertising vehicles without permits from Alberta Transportation and it is against the Province’s policy to grant permits for the makeshift billboards. As a result trailer billboards are illegal even if they are licenced. In the MD trailers being used for advertising can mainly be seen along Highway 2, Highway 7 and Highway 22,
“This has been an issue for years, but there was only the odd one here and there,” said Foothills municipal manager Harry Riva Cambrin. “But in the last month they have been popping up like rabbits.”
Coun. Suzanne Oel said last week she travelled along Highway 22 and Highway 7 and counted more than a dozen of the advertising trailers.
She said something must be done about the illegal trailers not only because they are in contravention of the bylaw, but also because they are a safety concern and the municipality is fielding numerous complaints from Foothills landowners.
“People are quite upset because they are seeing their country living turn into a bunch of billboards,” she said. “We are getting a lot of complaints about it and we are trying to maintain our scenic corridors.”
Oel said the concern is not with conventional signage promoting community events, real estate or construction. The issue is with the large billboard advertising placed on the side of trailers parked on private property which have become permanent structures.
“It is a complicated issue because I don’t think anyone wants them because they are clutter, but also they are safety issue because people are reading the signs and not paying attention to the road,” she said.
Foothills Reeve Larry Spilak agreed something must be done about the issue, which he said has grown out of control.
“They are just popping up everywhere,” he said. “I counted them on my way home and there was well over a dozen and that is just ridiculous.”
Riva Cambrin said the MD will attack the issue on two fronts. The first step is educating landowners informing them the advertising trailers are illegal and the second is to increase the fine associated with the bylaw.
Currently, the fine for having an illegal trailer is $250, which council agreed is not affective. The cost for an advertiser to rent one of the trailers for signage can be up to $1,000 per month, meaning the impact a $250 fine will have on the owner of the trailer is minimal.
Most importantly, the fine for the illegal trailer is not given to the advertiser or the person who owns the trailer, it is given to the landowner.
As a result, Riva Cambrin said it is important they meet with landowners to inform them of the bylaw because many landowners may not know the rules.
“We will blitz the landowners and ask them to please remove the trailers, if not we will be back with a fine,” he said.
Riva Cambrin added the only avenue they have to curb the illegal trailers is a higher fine and staff will quickly develop a proposal for a higher fine to bring forward to council who will then decide how to proceed.