Illegal signs and messy yards are a growing issue in Brampton – in fact, the city removed more illegal signs in 2017 than in any other single year before.
So if you get annoyed by illegal promotional signs in your neighbourhood or on your lawn, you’re not alone.
It’s against Brampton’s municipal by-laws to affix many forms of informational media on city property. That’s when companies, individuals, organizations, groups, and others, illegally place signs, stickers, and posters on boulevards, traffic light poles, and traffic signs.
And now, the city is cracking down on illegal signage by enforcing an illegal sign removal program.
According to recent city council meeting minutes, city staff are taking an “aggressive approach” to enforcing illegal nuisance signs on public property.
In 2017 alone, a total of 26,677 nuisance signs were removed (up from 19,539 in 2016), and $62,275 in fines were handed out under 283 charges laid.
Those fines were levied against a multitude of companies, most notably the following, courtesy of council minutes:
- $2,100 fine against a private tutoring business
- $2,700 fine against a mortgage broker
- $2,250 fine against a home renovator/contractor
- $8,000 fine against a martial arts studio
- $12,500 fine against a temporary staffing company
- $25,500 fine against a debt solutions company
In 2016, the City hired two officers to remove illegal signs and focus on overnight parking enforcement. In 2018, the City hired two additional officers. The City now has four part-time officers in addition to full-time officers cracking down on this major issue.
The vast majority of signs are removed during the evening and throughout the night when traffic is at a minimum, according to the City.
The signage is seized for court purposes and officers are tasked to identify if the company responsible is a registered entity. Next comes a prosecution request for court submission.
City staff record all of the company’s details for investigation, and repeat offenders are flagged and might be at risk to increased fines.
In the past, the City has considered implementing a citizen sign removal program similar to the City of Mississauga, but staff didn’t support it due to liability issues.
That includes concerns like citizens injuring themselves on the signage, getting involved in crashes when trying to remove signs, and unknowingly removing signs that are legally posted on City property, like community messages, election signage, or real estate signs.
As for litter and debris, the city received a total of 1,406 complaints in 2017, and officers conducted an additional 224 investigations. A total of 1,630 refuse and debris investigations were completed, according to the City,
According to the City, 28 properties were cleaned by a contractor and six property owners were required to attend court as result of a messy property.
“The remainder of matters were successfully resolved by having the property owners take action to clean their property,” reads the council document.
“Further, the enforcement of litter and debris removal from private property, in addition to the prosecution of those who illegally dump refuse and debris remains a top priority for Enforcement and By-law Services,” reads the document.
“In addition to our standard staff compliment, the Division employs six summer students to assist in the enforcement of these issues.”
Illegal signage and litter and debris on private property are two major issues that the City is increasing its efforts on.
According to the City, there has been an increase in the number of investigations, education, enforcement, and prosecution, which has deterred many companies from using illegal signs.
“Enforcement staff continue to pro-actively address the problem of illegal signs and refuse,” reads the document.
There are actually rules residents and organizations need to follow if they want to post signage, which you can find here.
To report an illegal sign or a messy property, residents can call 3-1-1, or report a by-law infraction on the PingStreet app.
For even more info, click here.
Cover photo courtesy of The City of Brampton