Eyesore on the way out

THE owner of the highway billboards that have been labelled an eyesore has defended their condition.

Bill Dwan, who owns the block of land that welcomes eastern travellers to Warwick, has four consecutive signs that are leased to companies and local businesses.

A handful of dilapidated buildings and locations were scrutinised by local real estate agents this week, and on that list was Mr Dwan's row of signs.

But he told the Daily News plans were rolling out to replace one of the poorly presented signs.

"The Metalcorp sign was due to be replaced a while back and it should be done by next week," he said.

"They finished their lease last November and it's just been a case of waiting for the new sign."

Mr Dwan inherited the highway signs when he bought the property 35 years ago and said they'd been on the place for at least 40 years.

As for the skeleton of the sign and what it took to smarten it up, or even to build another one, Mr Dwan said it was a complex procedure involving council.

"I couldn't afford it with the engineering costs and having it approved," he said.

"I had one sign built (since I bought the place) and I had to go through council to get it done. It's ended up being the worst for wear."

He quipped drivers would be too busy watching the road for potholes than looking at signs around them anyway.

A spokeswoman for Southern Downs Regional Council said people needed development approval to apply for an "advertising device".

"That's because it's a structure - you need to go through and put in an application to put up the sign as an advertising device," she said.

"A part of that application is the need to meet requirements, one of them being that it's structurally sound."

To do that, an engineer - not necessarily a council one - has to approve the sign.

She said another consideration about whether a development application was approved was its public amenity.

The owner of a pink house on Wood St - also on the list of unsightly objects - said its future was in limbo and hinged on the outcome of the council's new town plan.

"We're waiting to see whether there is a simple, development outcome from the new town plan - a straight forward option with less red tape," the owner said.

"We've got it re-stumped and we're waiting to see if there is anything more favourable from a development and cost point of view."

Local signs

Annual permits issued by council for advertising signs.

No fees for permits returned before the September 30 deadline.

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