Billboards spark anger

2018-07-17 16:00
The newly erected billboards in Hilton Avenue have caused outrage among Hilton residents who say the billboards are an ‘eyesore’.

The newly erected billboards in Hilton Avenue have caused outrage among Hilton residents who say the billboards are an ‘eyesore’. (Ian Carbutt)

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The Hilton community is outraged by the erection of two large billboards along Hilton Avenue, with residents calling them “an eyesore”.

In October 2016, the uMngeni Municipality voted for the erection of billboards in Merrivale and in Hilton.

The matter was approved in council and residents immediately started a petition to reverse the approval, garnering 276 signatures.

The petition was unsuccessful and on Friday morning, Hiltonians found themselves passing by two large billboard structures that seemed to have been put up overnight.

One Hilton resident who wished not to be named said that they could not believe the village had “no say over this ugly thing”.

A resident said on a local WhatsApp group: “I have just seen those flipping eyesores. It may be a stupid question but who is benefiting from these things, its not like we are a huge hub like Hillcrest that we have tons of people passing through.”

Council’s resolution to approve the signs according to council meeting documents from 2016, stemmed from the fact that “there are no significant views in either direction” and that it would not affect oncoming traffic.

“The environmental impact is viewed to be very low due to the mixed-use business character of this part of uMngeni,” said the council report.

“The position [of the boards] will not impact on any sensitive visual lines or the broader character of the area.”

uMngeni Municipality general manager of economic development and planning Stephen Simpson said the erection of the billboards was solely up to council and once approved, there was no legislation stating they should meet with the community. He said that the billboards would generate income, however, when asked what the rental costs were, he said they were “confidential” and would not give an estimate on the cost.

He said the billboards were debated at length in council and the majority vote went to erecting the billboards.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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