Published 2 August 2010
Auckland City Council has set up a councillor hearings panel to amend the signs & billboards bylaws for the 6-week period of the Rugby World Cup next year.
Technically, the panel’s task is to consider submissions and make a decision on a proposal to amend the bylaws. But the council staff report for the hearing is an advocacy report, conforming with the decision reached at the council’s city development committee in May to endorse bylaw changes for the event.
As happened when the bylaws were amended in 2007, the chairman of that committee is chairing the hearing. There was a strong campaign against some changes last time, comparatively lightweight opposition for this bylaw change.
Last time, the City Vision & Labour-dominated council pushed for a reduction in signage around the city. This time, for the 6-week period of the Rugby World Cup, the proposal is to allow temporary signage colouring the city.
Senior urban management policy analyst Helgard Wagener said in his report for the panel the trend during major events internationally had been for the host cities not to confine activities & signage associated with the major events to the venues, but to promote them throughout the city, particularly with highly visible & elaborate signage. These included:
“life style graphics”/building wraps that are attached to large cbd buildings and cover a significant part of the buildings’ street frontageinteractive electronic signage that directs visitors to key tournament locations, as well as providing key tournament informationcountdown clocks designed to provide a sense of anticipation of the major event, andbanner infrastructure that can hold much larger banners than street poles due to higher wind-load capabilities, clustered around key activity areas for maximum effect.
The Rugby World Cup starts & finishes in Auckland – start date 9 September, conclusion Sunday 23 October, with matches at Eden Park (oh, and at North Harbour Stadium, which will be in the same city by then), and fan zones will be located at public places in the city.
Mr Wagener said in his hearing report: “Analysis of the planned events & projects associated with the Rugby World Cup indicates that, with the exception of extraordinary signs & billboards such as ‘life-style graphics’/building wraps, the current bylaws of the council provide adequately for the management of major events.”
However, he said, none of the signs or billboards in his example catalogue would meet the requirements of the present bylaws and would require dispensations to be erected. The catch was that dispensation could be granted only