Halifax’s municipal government says unsanctioned signs identifying the intersection colloquially known as Pizza Corner have to be removed.
“Private signs have to comply with the Downtown Halifax Land-Use Bylaw and, basically, that states that you’re not allowed to permanently secure a sign into the ground anywhere in downtown Halifax,” Nick Ritcey, a municipal government spokesperson, said in an interview Thursday.
The property owner was notified Tuesday that the signs need to be removed by the end of Friday, he said.
“There’s flexibility there. We’d like for them to take it down on their own terms,” Ritcey said.
If not, the municipality will look at other options for their removal and potential fines, he said.
The reflective green signs have “Pizza Corner” written on them in all-caps and look similar to the municipality’s official street signs.
They’re located on an approximately 10-foot black pole in front of a Sicilian Pizza restaurant, the tenant of the property, at the northeast section of the Blowers and Grafton streets intersection.
The intersection, a popular nighttime stop for inebriated young people, is known as Pizza Corner because of its history of being home to pizza shops.
The restaurant’s Instagram page shows the signs in place in a post dated Aug. 17.
Ritcey said the signs look like legitimate street signs, which the municipality would not issue a permit for in this context.
Deputy Mayor and Coun. Waye Mason, who represents the district, said despite Haligonians’ familiarity with the area, not everyone knows where Pizza Corner is.
“I appreciate everything they’re trying to do, and I think it’s funny. I’m sure that some more formal recognition of Pizza Corner being Pizza Corner could be worked out, and I’d be happy to work with them, but you have to go through the process,” he said.
The Pizza Corner signs could prove problematic for someone trying to notify a 911 operator of their location. Mason said the current 911 system is connected with other communities in the province, which means if there were a problem with the municipality’s service, calls could be received by operators in Sydney, for example.
Several requests for an interview were sent to Sicilian Pizza Thursday morning.
“We don’t see an issue with it,” Joe Nahas, a co-owner of the restaurant, said in a phone interview Friday morning.
“It’s being addressed, and the sign won’t be going down.”
He specified that “a permitting thing” is being addressed and he’ll be working with the municipal government to solve it.
Nahas, who said he could not fit an on-camera interview into his schedule, said the pole was put up by the restaurant on private property.
He told a Global News journalist to check in with the municipal government to see if anything has changed in the situation.
Ritcey said on Friday that nothing has changed.
The reaction from customers and tourists to the signs has only been positive, Nahas said.
He added that the signs have lured more people to visit the area “and, obviously, it’s creating a story, too. It’s creating interest, so there are things all positive for downtown.”
The signs were still in place as of 11 a.m. Friday.