Mount Gambier City Council has revoked an ineffective advertising and signage policy, after it was revealed that hundreds of signs had been placed on council lands without landowner consent or development approval.
A council audit of more than 700 signs found that “the majority” were in breach of the council policy and did not have approval. Signs at Blue Lake Sports Park, Corriedale Park, Hastings Cunningham Reserve, Icehouse Stadium, Malseed Park Reserve, Olympic Park, Vansittart Park, McDonald Park Reserve, Grant Avenue and Frew Park and Blue Lake Sports Park were all found to be in breach of the policy.
The council had earlier advised that occupants in breach of the policy would need to remove the signs at the end of their existing sponsorship period, or before December 1, 2021. However, an undisclosed number of occupants told the council they were reliant upon sponsorship signage revenue.
Moreover, one occupant found to be in breach of the policy, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The SE Voice they had never heard of the policy. In a resolution moved by Cr Frank Morello, seconded by Cr Steven Perryman and carried by council, the council revoked its advertising policy, in favour of developing a ‘deemed consent’ policy for the installation of signage by community and sporting lessees on council land.
The council clarified that deemed consent would apply only to occupants with exclusive possession and does not apply to licensees, permit holders, casual users, or any occupants of Crown Land. The new policy would apply in all cases except for signage that requires development approval.
The resolution also calls for council administration to assess any proposals for the installation of signage that requires building rules consent. A policy will also be developed for the granting of landowner consent for signs that require development approval.
In addition, council clarified that it does not consent to any sponsorship signage logos being placed on fences, gates or other structures that face externally to the leased land – a point that will be a key feature of the new landowner consent policy.