Richmond moves to require English on bus shelter ads

February 11, 2016

By Joanne Lee-Young, Vancouver Sun |

Many Richmond bus shelters ads for everything from real estate agents to Crest toothpaste, mouthwash, Visa cards and, more recently, Budweiser beer have been exclusively printed in Chinese.

But now, the City of Richmond has tweaked rules so that these ads must now be predominantly in English.

The change comes as the city’s contract with Pattison Outdoor Advertisting expired at the end of 2015 and it is currently negotiating terms for a new one.

“In the (request for proposals), we inserted a requirement,” said city spokesman Ted Townsend. It is “an extension of what we tell (private) businesses about signage. It’s our preference that at least 50 per cent (of the text) is in English, but (with private businesses) this is not required by law.”

He said Chinese-only signs have led to complaints from the community, and the rule change is in response to these.

Richmond will not similarly regulate business signs that are on private property, but Townsend said the city is able to make a case for requiring English on bus shelter ads.

“This is in keeping with our desire to be an inclusive community with signage that all people can understand and support,” said Townsend.

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