Do you know where the Walmart is in Dartmouth Crossing? Probably. Do you know its civic address? Probably not. It's 90 Lamont Terrace. Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) wants Burnside businesses, Dartmouth Crossing shops and, in fact, all tenants of all HRM business parks, to clearly mark their buildings with civic numbers.
Gayle MacLean, civic addressing coordinator for HRM, says so many business are land marked, like the Walmart in the example above, rather than known by their civic addresses that many companies are lax about making sure their civic number is clearly posted and in accordance with HRM by-laws.
MacLean says civic addressing is for public and personal safety reasons.
"Paramedics and other emergency responders don't have time to stop and figure out which building or which unit or suite in a strip mall your business is located in. They say as little as 10 seconds can make a difference in saving a life."
According to MacLean, larger buildings are typically well marked to ensure easy deliveries, etc., but smaller facilities, such as a Tim Horton outlet or units and suites in strip malls, aren't clearly identified.
"Civic numbers need to be at least eight inches tall and clearly visible all year round to someone driving by on the street in both light and dark situations," MacLean says. "The numbers need to be on the side of the building fronting the street that's your civic address. Some buildings located on corners are marked on both street fronts, which is just confusing. Just stick to the street you're officially listed on."
MacLean says HRM hasn't cracked down on by-law offenders and without much in the way of resources there won't be a big publicity campaign to get building owners and property managers to fall into line.
"We don't have the manpower to really enforce the by-law, but we would like to take the opportunity to tell everyone that this isn't being nit-picky about by-laws," she says. "We want businesses to be as safe for owners, staff and clients as we can make them, and ensuring emergency responders – such as police, fire, alarm and ambulance personnel – can get to you as quickly as possible is part of that."
So, take a walk out to the edge of your parking lot and look back at your place of business. Is your civic number clearly visible, in both daytime and nighttime conditions? If you're in the habit of putting a Christmas wreath on your unit door that obscures your number, please rethink your decorations. If snow banks are getting so tall they cover your signage, clear it out. Hey, maybe some first time customers will walk in your door in a better frame of mind, because finding you was easy!
For more information on civic addressing, visit the HRM website at www.halifax.ca/civicaddress/Civicaddreess4.html, or contact Gayle MacLean at 902-490-4105.