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It was a billboard made for the Sydney Olympics. Twenty-two years later, it’s still there

The giant billboard on Glebe Island’s silos will loom over the inner west for three years before being torn down after the City of Sydney Council claimed the sign had become a “permanent blemish” on the skyline.

NSW’s Independent Planning Commission approved the short-term license extension for the sign after finding the signs did not conflict with the character of the industrial port. The silos are at the heart of the Bays West area, which the government wants to transform into a residential, commercial and leisure hub.

Thousands of motorists on Anzac Bridge in Sydney’s inner west pass the advertisements every day.Credit:Louie Douvis

Eye Drive Sydney, a subsidiary of advertising company oOh!media, submitted a proposal to the NSW Department of Planning last year to extend its consent for the billboard for a further 10 years to 2032.

Erected in the 1990s as part of Sydney’s bid for the 2000 Olympic Games, the board was initially approved for 10 years. The City of Sydney said rolling extensions to the development permit were at odds with the intent of the original application and the future character of the area. The wanted poster removed.

City planning director Graham Jahn said in a submission on the proposal that the sign had “perpetuated permanent damage to Sydney’s skyline and has completely undermined the relevance of time-limited consents”.

Inner West Council, which covers Glebe Island, did not object to the plan. Under the proposal, Eye Drive Sydney said it would pay the council $127,000 a year under the agreement to fund conservation works.

The silos, pictured in 1993, were painted with a mural to support Sydney's bid for the 2000 Olympic Games. The now defunct airline Ansett was one of the first advertisers on the board.

The silos, pictured in 1993, were painted with a mural to support Sydney’s bid for the 2000 Olympic Games. The now defunct airline Ansett was one of the first advertisers on the board.Credit:Steve Christo

The application was referred to the commission because it attracted more than 50 negative submissions.

Some 80 objections to the original proposal, summarized by the commission, variously described the billboards as “an eyesore”, “visually overbearing”, “tacky” and “horribly ugly”.