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Councillors and former mayors say Sept. 19 public support for street sign logos is urgent

One of the potential street sign designs submitted in report to committee.

One of the potential street sign designs submitted in report to committee.

\By GARY WEBB-PROCTOR\

Former East York mayors Alan Redway and Michael Prue, along with representatives of local historical and preservation groups and two city councillors representing the area, all say the public needs to let politicians know they want to see the EY logo continue to appear on local street signs at a meeting Tuesday September 19.

Former East York mayors Alan Redway & Michael Prue. -GARY W-P

Former East York mayors Alan Redway & Michael Prue. -GARY W-P

An outpouring of public comments at the 9:30 a.m. Public Works and Infrastructure Committee meeting at city hall could make the difference in whether or not East York street signs will continue to bear the former borough’s logo, they say.

(The public can submit comments to the city clerk’s office by emailing pwic@toronto.ca or show up at Committee Room #1 at City Hall prior to the meeting and ask to be added to the list of speakers for Item PW23.10, which is already expected to include a representative of the East York Foundation according to its chair, Raymond White.)

Although the committee, which has no EY councillors as members, is receiving a report from the city’s Director of the Traffic Management Centre, Myles Currie, about the feasibility and cost of applying the decals to new and replacement signs, there is no recommendation for any action.

That means that unless public support and exhortations to action result in a motion to present to the full council in October suggesting a policy requiring the logos be adopted, the idea could end up in limbo.  Since the city’s policy has been to replace the signs with generic ones with no EY logo, it would eventually disappear from the streetscape without policy change.

The report was initiated at council’s July meeting after 35-5 approval of a motion from Ward 29 Councillor Mary Fragedakis and Ward 31’s Janet Davis following  a meeting with EY boosters and staff in May.  That came on the heels of reports in East York Chronicle (in November of last year) that the logos were disappearing off replacement signs and expressions of concern by both EYF and the East York Historical Society (EYHS) among others.

Prior to that, EYC had broken the story last October that new place name and informational signs that were being erected outside at the renovated East York Civic Centre were also missing the EY logo —an “oversight” that was fixed at a cost of thousands of dollars just prior to the official October 29 ribbon-cutting celebrating completion of the work.

Former Mayor Michael Prue said in a telephone interview that he was “afraid that this was exactly what would happen over time” following amalgamation of EY into the megacity in 1998, which eliminated his position along with the erstwhile borough.

“I fought very hard to keep the East York logo” successfully as a member of the post-amalgamation council, he recalled, “but some of the naysayers from North York and the old city said we were trying to undo amalgamation and that they didn’t have logos on their signs.  But I pointed out that they don’t have the same sense of community like East York.”

He noted that while he was part of the EYF it “tried to buy the old signs put up by the borough when they were being replaced with new ones by the city, hoping to sell them to East Yorkers who wanted one, but the city said no.”

Street signa at n/w corner on October 29 '16. -STAFF

Existing street sign at n/w corner on October 29 ’16. -STAFF

Although the new report suggests that adding the logos of former municipalities “would be in conflict with the Corporate Identity Program Policy” a background file notes that already signs provide for the addition of area identifications for “BIAs, community or neighbourhood branding” in a top section of the sign and that already on many signs other artwork appears (such as a poppy for streets named to memorialize veterans) in the lower-third sign section.

Designs displaying how the logo would work in conjunction with other identifiers on the signs are included in the report, and suggest that there are no obstacles in terms of design challenges.

Street signs s/w corner on October 29 '16 -STAFF

Replacement street signs on s/w corner on October 29 ’16 -STAFF

The report, while noting that no funding has been earmarked for such an initiative, calls the financial impact “negligible,” and labour cost “marginal,” estimating that the cost per applied decal is about $5 each.  If applied to all new and replacement signs in East York and Scarborough (which was added to Ms. Fragedakis’s Council motion by amendment) the cost would likely be no more than 4,000 and just $12,500 tops if applied city-wide.

EYF’s Mr. White, in an email to the Chronicle, said that while the EYF had been hoping to preserve decommissioned East York street signs, the proposal “to actually brand the street signs with the East York logo is very appealing” and “wholeheartedly” supported by his organization.

Justin Van Dette, president of the new East York Hall of Fame (EYHF) organization, said in an emailed statement that the logo “is a cherished symbol in our community,” adding that not only should it appear on street signs but that organizations should also be permitted to “fly the flag [of the former municipality] at public buildings” in the area.

EYHS president Pancheta Barnett has indicated that she is hoping to attend and speak at the meeting, which Mr. Redway, in an email sent to a wide circle of contacts over the weekend, said “it is most important that as many people as possible attend.”  In January Redway, who is also a former EY MP and member of the boards of the EYHC and EYHF, also raised the issue in his Chronicle column.

Councillor Fragedakis said in a Sept. 18 reply to an email from the Chronicle that she and fellow EY council rep Janet Davis from Ward 31 are working to try to get a committee member to move a motion to support affixing the decals and that support expressed by the public at the meeting “would be very helpful.”

 

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