The City of Windsor has been offered a free solar bench for the riverfront trail, but members of Windsor City Council have a problem with advertising on the unit.
A solar-powered bench that has the capability of charging laptops, cell phones and other electronics, is being offered to the City of Windsor free of charge from local company Green SunRising Inc.
The bench features a bowed canopy that contains solar panels. On the side of the canopy the web address www.greensunrising.com appears. City Council is opposed to this advertising citing that it tries to limit advertising in public areas.
“We’ll certainly be happy to work with administration on what is doable,” said Klaus Dohring, Green SunRising President, “our intention is to promote solar but the only way in which we can exist is by promoting ourself as a company. If there is no promotion for our company the motivation goes away.”
The city does have some advertising in public spaces such as the city owned Bistro on the river restaurant and on the Windsor Family Credit Union hockey arena. As well as the Jamieson Vitamins monuments on the Dougall avenue overpass for the trees Jamieson donated
This has raised questions as to if this is going to set a precedent for companies coming to the municipality with donations in exchange for advertising.
“Not to look a gift horse in the mouth but is this going to set a precedent for other companies?” said Ward 9 councilor Hilary Payne. “Regardless of the sign that goes on the back of this, will this open up the door to any other company that wants to come in and advertise themselves bluntly?”
Mayor Eddie Francis stated that donations like these would be looked at on a case to case basis at council.
Councilor Drew Dilkens, Ward 1, made a motion to defer the matter so that more consideration could be made on the subject.
“I’ll make a motion to defer for the purposes of sitting down with Mr. Dohring and Green SunRising and to see wether or not there is any advertising attainable that is more overt than is what’s here now.” said Dilkens “I’d hate to throw this away.”
The matter has been deferred and could take around six months to get back to the council agenda. St. Clair College is also being offered the same donation and is currently reviewing whether or not they want to have a company advertisement on their campus.