Permission to erect an 8x2-metre billboard on the main route between Southern NSW and Wangaratta has been knocked back by defiant Indigo councillors.
It was revealed at Tuesday night’s council meeting that Melbourne-based Regional Billboard Company threatened to take the application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal if it was not approved, but that did not change anyone’s mind.
The company wanted to put the billboard on All Saints Road in Wahgunyah, adjacent to the Uncle Toby’s production plant.
Council staff recommended rejecting the planning permit because the signage was a safety hazard and “would have an unreasonable impact on the visual amenity of the area”.
Cr Larry Goldsworthy said simply, “we don’t want it, we don’t need it”.
“Our community doesn’t have large billboards throughout it. It’s only blatant advertising for a large company,’ he said. “Yes, you may win at VCAT, but I’d ask you to take your application and do it somewhere else.”
Cr Jenny O’Connor agreed, saying she did not like the sight of billboards when travelling in Canberra and Southern NSW.
“We have a shire that is known for its landscape, its beauty - it’s one of the reasons people come here,” she said.
“With huge advertising hoardings, once you let one in, how do you stop the rest?”
Regional Billboard Company application stated the billboard would be used for third-party advertising and was respecting the region by proposing a small sign, placed on rural property outside of the town centre.
A report from Indigo Council planning manager Ian Scholes said town entranceways were a key issue across the shire, but the council would have no control over what could be advertised on the sign.
The decision to knock back the billboard application was unanimous from councillors, including mayor Bernard Gaffney.
“There’s another entrance to another town or city in the North East and as you drive towards it, there’s this massive billboard advertising beer and I just think…,” he said before shaking his head.
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