North Sydney may limit outdoor ads on city's skyline

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SYDNEY -- North Sydney City's glittering skyline - the most lucrative and visible signage market in Australia worth an estimated $100m - is under threat from the City Council's plan to "get rid of visual clutter" by limiting sky signage to building owners or major tenants. The ruling would bring the city into line with its sister city, Sydney, just across the harbour.

The new code slams the door on third party advertisers, most of them international groups, now holding the majority of sky signs in the North Sydney central business district. Some pay as much as $750,000 a year to advertise on the "glitter mile" overlooking the harbor bridge expressway and Sydney City.

Industry groups such as the Outdoor Advertising Association and the Property Council of Australia say the plan will strip millions of dollars off building values. "Advertising is a very significant income stream for building owners in North Sydney," said Mark Quinlan, executive director of the Property Council.

A spokesman for North Sydney Council said the city fathers may change their minds "if there is a strong feeling out there that this isn't the way to far, the reaction of the local community is that they want to limit the amount of advertising, rather than expand it."

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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