Glebe Island billboard to stay for three years before being torn down

The giant advertising billboard on Glebe Island’s silos will loom over the inner west for three years before being torn down after the City of Sydney Council argued the sign had become a “manent blight” on the skyline.

The NSW Independent Planning Commission approved the short-term extension to the consent for the billboard after finding the signs were not at odds with the character of the industrial port. The silos are at the heart of the Bays West precinct, which the government wants to transform into a residential, commercial and leisure hub.

Thousands of motorists on the Anzac Bridge in Sydney's inner west pass the advertisements each day.

Thousands of motorists on the Anzac Bridge in Sydney’s inner west pass the advertisements each day.Credit:Louie Douvis

Eye Drive Sydney, a subsidiary of advertising company oOh!media, last year submitted a proposal to the NSW Department of Planning seeking to extend its consent for the advertising billboard for another 10 years to 2032.

The billboard was erected in the 1990s as part of Sydney’s bid for the 2000 Olympic Games and was originally approved for 10 years. The City of Sydney said rolling extensions to the development consent were at odds with the intent of the original application, and the future character of the area. It wanted the billboard removed.

City planning director Graham Jahn said in a submission on the proposal the sign had “perpetuated a permanent blight on the Sydney skyline and has completely undermined the relevance of time-limited consents”.

The Inner West Council, which covers Glebe Island, did not object to the plan. Under the proposal, Eye Drive Sydney said it would pay the council $127,000 a year during the agreement to fund conservation works.

The silos, pictured in 1993, were painted with a mural to support Sydney's bid for the 2000 Olympic Games.  Now-defunct airline Ansett was one of the first advertisers on the billboard.

The silos, pictured in 1993, were painted with a mural to support Sydney’s bid for the 2000 Olympic Games. Now-defunct airline Ansett was one of the first advertisers on the billboard.Credit:Steve Christo

The application was referred to the negative commission because it attracted more than 50 submissions.

About 80 objections to the initial proposal, summarized by the commission, variously described the billboards as “an eyesore”, “visually overbearing”, “tacky” and “horribly ugly”.

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