Regaining Visual Amenity

Posted Thursday 26 March 2015

We residents of Mosman are fortunate to live in an area of great beauty, with glorious views of sea, beach and bush. But our own actions often degrade our environment. Unnecessary and ugly street signs, overhead power lines and above awning commercial advertising are but three examples.

Council’s war on signage continues. We have removed 583 street signs, including 153 “No Stopping” signs and over 100 parking related signs. We are currently removing unnecessary signs around the Civic Centre. But hundreds more signs can, and hopefully will, come down.

To achieve a more aesthetic and uniform signage, a Graphic Design Team is advising on a style guide. It is hoped to start replacing old and ugly signs on a precinct by precinct basis later this year.

Pleasingly, many other councils have shown an interest in our initiatives. The Northern Beaches (SHOROC) Councils have initiated a region-wide program to remove red no-stopping signs around corners where yellow lines on the road convey the same message.

In many of our streets, electricity poles and ugly power lines degrade the view and often obstruct natural vegetation growth. These poles and lines are owned and operated by Ausgrid and Council has limited powers to remove them.

However, when opportunities arise, Council requires new development sites to underground Ausgrid assets. Recent examples are Superba Parade and Parriwi Road.

Residents can also request Ausgrid to remove overhead poles and wires at their expense. The cost at around $20,000 per property (but varying up and down with property frontage length and engineering conditions) is considerable and requires agreement between relevant property owners.

Mention may also be made that Council has a policy that prohibits above awning advertising signage that is contained within Council’s Business Centres Development Control Plan. Unfortunately enforcement of this policy seems to have fallen into abeyance as anyone observing the ugly visage of the shops around Spit Junction may observe. Whilst some of these signs may unfortunately be permitted, and it is not easy to undo history, Council’s new Compliance Team are looking into the matter with a view to improving the area.