Swaggering Braggadocio

Some interesting discussion in response to my note yesterday about the unlawful posting of a megasign by Charlottetown developer Tim Banks who “says he has no intension of following Charlottetown’s heritage and signage bylaws.”

It is immaterial to me whether or not the sign is good or bad, nice or ugly.

Our community has established a mechanism for controlling parts of our visual environment; by arrogantly ignoring the standards we have collectively established, Mr. Banks is insulting all of us, especially the law abiding businesspeople who have gone to the time, effort and expense of actually bothering to follow the law when erecting their own signs.

One correspondent writes “Are there really people out there who would rather have that building filled with more dollar stores?” I would rather have a dollar store that follows the law than a swaggering braggadociocrat who holds our community hostage by playing the role of benevolent developer.

Perhaps next Mr. Banks will find the burden of PST insulting to his sensibilities, or environmental regulations, or employment standards?

It’s one thing to laud actions of oppressed groups who flout senseless laws in the cause of social justice; it’s entirely another to support developers who flout community bylaws just because they think they can get away with it. Mr. Banks should be ashamed of his callous disregard for our community.

Comments

Oliver's picture
Oliver on May 29, 2002 - 06:07

Well, you probably read the recent New Yorker piece about how democracy was ineffectually guiding plans to redevelop the WTC site in NYC. People often assert that great architecture is incompatible with city planning. Would we have the pyramids if the Hebrews had a vote? I know, I can’t rest my case there, because the pharaohs flouted no democratically enacted laws in building the pyramids. But, although I can’t point to instances, I’m sure a few communities have had their toes trampled both de jure and de facto in the history of modern monument building (history of the building of eyesores notwithstanding). People who imagine themselves as visionaries are bound to think they have a talking point, and history may prove them right—at least with regard to esthetics.

Andrew's picture
Andrew on May 29, 2002 - 11:54

The city should force Mr.Banks into applying like every developer should. I just hope if they do that he don’t get mad with the city and move his project to Stratford. This is the first major project APM has done in our downtown for years. He said he would never invest in our downtown, unless the city made University avenue 4 lanes. Maybe this is the start of APM’s commitment to helping spruce up our downtown. With all this aside, I think the painting looks really good where it is. I hope this problem all works out on APMs behalf.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on May 29, 2002 - 13:17

Doesn’t Cavendish have a similar problem? Zealot mega-companies fighting several bylaws that are effecting their business “environment”? Banks will come out like he proved something, many people (especially his political friends) will consider it to be a noble act and will applaud. I’m not sure than Banks is the first person to do this either Peter; I think I remember more than one restaurant on University Avenue breaking the signage bylaws and pleading ignorant. Maybe we just have our eye on Mr. Banks? Noo, couldn

Jevon's picture
Jevon on May 29, 2002 - 13:21

This is interesting though, haden’t read that article.

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on May 29, 2002 - 13:36

Andrew, first of all, Banks isn’t going to be moving the restaurant to Stratford. Banks is developing this building because he wants to make a lot of money from it. And he won’t make a lot of money with this restaurant in Stratford. He can play “Downtown City Saviour” all he wants, and while I’m sure he has a vested interest in a revitalized city core, I’m sure his main (by far) objective is to get even more rich than he is currently. I absolutely agree with Peter. His (Mr. Banks’, not Peter’s) arrogance and stance on this issue reeks of Self-Importance. Is there anything scarier than a rich, omnipotent businessperson with an agenda, in a town that’s out whoring for business? “Dollah store, five dollah, me so ho’ny!” Finally, what would be his reaction if a competitor did such a thing?

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on May 29, 2002 - 13:40

Sorry, I thought the plan was for the building to be a restaurant, but I see in the article that Jevon pointed us to that it’s going to be nothing more than another Island-themed store.

Andrew's picture
Andrew on May 29, 2002 - 13:48

I know he would not move the idea to Stratford, I just used that as an example. Lets face it, our downtown is weak. Hopefully APM can make it stronger, getting richer or not.

Besides, don’t you all think the sign/painting looks nice?

Heather's picture
Heather on May 29, 2002 - 14:01

There is a difference between things “looking nice” and being run according to our city guidelines.

Mr. Banks feels he doesn’t have to follow the rules, also he wants to make a point to the city as they did not allow him to go through with his original plans for this building (which too would have looked nice).

If everyone here hated the painting then the story would read a bit different, but he did chose to feature a local artist with a beautiful piece of work. This makes it a more difficult fight — I for one would love to see the painting stay, but not without the city accepting it.

Try changing the names of the company and of the artist and see how you would feel about what happened.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on May 29, 2002 - 14:10

I just noticed in the Guardian, the Heritage Board approved the sign.

Andrew's picture
Andrew on May 29, 2002 - 14:46

I know he would not move the idea to Stratford, I just used that as an example. Lets face it, our downtown is weak. Hopefully APM can make it stronger, getting richer or not.

Besides, don’t you all think the sign/painting looks nice?

Andrew's picture
Andrew on May 29, 2002 - 14:46

Oups, sorry. Did not mean to re-post that.

gary's picture
gary on May 29, 2002 - 16:14

Peter. I agree but please look up the difference between “flaunt” and “flout”.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on May 29, 2002 - 16:15

Thank you, Gary, for saving me from syntax shame.

Alan McLeod's picture
Alan McLeod on May 30, 2002 - 01:27

You cannot choose which party to the disagreement is right based on whether you like their personal style or not. There is no difference whether the law is an ass for a social justice issue or a planning issue. If he were to be charged, he might argue his freedom of expression, just as the ciggie companies have to all our concurrent benefit and detriment. He might win, too. [Really, there is far too much kowtowing to committee in these parts and waiting for permission to do what you like.] If he has done something wrong and they charge him, let it fall where they may — if he is not charged, he is not fouting anything but only doing what he wants to with his property — and not only to increase his own wealth but that of his employees and investors, all legal and critical to our economic well being. Freedom they call it.

dave moses's picture
dave moses on May 30, 2002 - 14:48

I’d say that’s a pretty narrow definition of freedom.

Jevon's picture
Jevon on May 30, 2002 - 14:51

That’s a narrow view on his statement. ;)

Alan's picture
Alan on May 30, 2002 - 15:48

That was not a definition of freedom — it was a description of an aspect of freedom. How about a substantive response?

Jevon's picture
Jevon on May 30, 2002 - 18:23

My comment was meant for Dave.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 30, 2002 - 18:30

I know, Jevon. I was trying to coax him into an expanded response.

Guy's picture
Guy on May 30, 2002 - 22:33

Simply put — Banks is President of the Liberal Party of PEI — needless to say if his party is elected there will be a two-tier set of laws, since they would never charge their political daddy. Banks will be law-free and every one else will likely be watched VERY closely.

See in Parliament today that the money Banks has gotten through Federal programs might become public in the new future.

Justin's picture
Justin on May 31, 2002 - 00:38

Saw the sign Sunday. It ain’t my cuppa, but it looks like a painting, not a sign. Besides, the sign ain’t what’s offending a bylaw, rather the construction of a new shop… all shops have a right to a sign that doesn’t obstruct movement and view. Now all he needs is permission to open his store. Hmm, I think he’s the first person to be turned down. Maybe he should buy a ‘Comic Hunter’ franchise. They had no probbie opening in the heritage zone… Tim Banks wants to help the downtown, I agree, he wants to make money, I think he should. That is the whole idea of developing business downtown: for everyone to prosper. Banks has been developing the outskirts of town for so long it’s refreshing to see him inject a little economic pressure where business has been weakening.

NA's picture
NA on June 3, 2002 - 18:04

It’s the patronage appointed city complainers who are everything that you said, Tim Banks is,”Rob MacD”. The narrow minded self appointed arrogant, so called planers, are really out for themselves, their family and friends and Tim Banks knows it. Go Timmy go. It looks good on you. I am now putting my lips tightly together while I stick my tung out and make a sound of victory for the new kid in town.

James Petrie

Jim's picture
Jim on June 8, 2002 - 03:16

I think the city should have rules in place but they shouldn’t have review boards. Why should a select few people sitting on a board have the right to decide for everyone what is right or tasteful. Why can’t I or you sit on the board and be the person that decides for everyone else what they can or can’t do.

Everyone should have to follow rules, set out to protect everyone. But you can’t go changing them on a whim.

Frank Johnson went Bankrupt trying to put up a big mall right where Walmart is now, but the downtown merchants stopped him with their review boards. But as the decay set in and their power decreased they were unable to stop the new developers.

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