The sign was originally designed by city staff as a temporary installation with a three to five-year lifespan. After the close of the Pan Am Games it was expected to fade away into obscurity. No one ever thought it would become a popular city landmark. With no maintenance plan and no long term strategy around the sign’s usage, council has to wrestle with how best to manage the installation. Current estimates set the sign’s maintenance at $150K for the rest of 2016, a request that was turned down by city council back in July. In total, the sign requires $400,000 worth of repairs and maintenance to keep it functional over the next two years.
No decisions regarding the permanence of 3D TORONTO have been made as of yet. The Economic Development Team’s recommendations were sent back for further study by Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly in June.
The cost of ongoing maintenance isn’t the 3D TORONTO Sign’s only controversy. Bruce Barrow, a brand marketer and consultant, claims to have made a proposal to the city once in 2013 and again in 2014 that he alleges the city appropriated as inspiration for the sign. He is currently suing the city for $2.5 million dollars.