Astral street furniture bid wins approval of Toronto exec committee

Technically, it's not a done deal yet, but the full city council is expected to rubber stamp it on May 23.

To no one’s surprise, Astral Media Outdoors’ proposal to provide street furniture for Toronto for the next 20 years was green-lighted by the city’s executive committee last evening.

The terms confirm MiC‘s April 24 story, boiling down to revenue of $428.8 million for Toronto over the next two decades (about $21 million a year), including an initial payment of $36.5 million when the contract is signed. Astral will be responsible for the $202.4 million capital investment, plus ongoing maintenance costs estimated at $294.3 million.

Astral will commit to providing: 5,000 transit shelters (2,000 more than currently exist), 12,500 litter/ recycling bins, 2,000 benches, 500 multi-box newspaper vending boxes, 120 information pillars, 2,500 postering/ neighbourhood information structures (500 pillars, 2,000 pole-and-board type), 20 public washrooms and 1,000 bicycle racks.

Opinions differ on whether the amount of advertising that eventually will festoon Astral-provided objects will add up to more or less than currently blankets the city. But Toronto Mayor David Miller stated at the session that what was approved is ‘a significant win’ for the city because there will no longer be ads on benches and garbage bins (as well as some bus shelters), so only about 4,100 objects will bear ads in the future – down from the 6,000 objects that now do so.

A full city council meeting skedded for May 23 is expected to debate outstanding motions from opponents who say the deal would reward a company that is currently flouting outdoor advertising bylaws. But there seems little doubt that the terms Astral proposed will be officially okayed.