VIDEO: Signs of the election cropping up across B.C.

Quesnel and Terrace crack down on signage, while the Lower Mainland takes a laissez-faire approach

With the provincial election less than two months away, every piece of empty land across B.C. will soon be filled with election signs.

That’s except if you live in Quesnel. The city was in the middle of completely rebranding itself last July when officials decided to tackle the unsightly lawn signs for last fall’s federal election.

READ: Election signs unsightly in Pitt Meadows

“There was a candidate who put up signs about 18 inches apart with a story that he was telling about why you should vote for him,” said Mayor Bob Simpson. City hall was flooded with complaints.

“Everybody is regulated (on the use of lawn signs) except for politicians,” said Simpson. “People can’t use public space to promote their businesses, to promote their garage sales, etc., without restrictions.”

So the city of just under 10,000 people got to work.

“Council believes that six double-sided signs, strategically placed, in the city is sufficient to get the word out,” said Simpson.

The restrictions in Quesnel only apply to public property: As long as a resident allows it, candidates are allowed to place as many signs as they like on private property.

To Simpson, that puts the focus on candidates connecting with people and not on how many signs they can afford.

“I think this allows campaigns to concentrate on the things that matter: door-knocking and policy instead of having sign wars with each other and complaining that so-and-so is vandalizing so-and-so’s sign.”

Quesnel isn’t the only city to limit the number of signs.

Terrace, with just over 11,000 people, limited candidates to 30 signs each about a year ago.

“During previous elections, there was a proliferation of election signs in public parks, along roadways, and they were becoming a visual distraction,” said Terrace senior city planner Ken Newman. “We don’t limit the number of signs on private property. If you’re a resident of 1234 Apple St., you can put up 10 signs on your property if you want.”

Some municipalities, meanwhile, have allowed for more election signs than fewer over the years. During B.C.’s 2014 municipal election, Port Alberni decided to relax its sign bylaws to allow signs on boulevards “as long as the signs do not create a safety concern.”

READ: Port Alberni relaxes sign bylaw for election

In the Lower Mainland, cities are leaving it up to the candidates.

City of Surrey spokesman Oliver Lum said it hasn’t been a topic of much discussion.

“It’s just certain areas that the signs just get illegally set up,” said Lum. “Boulevards with a left-turn lane and the approach to Pattullo Bridge… obviously you can’t have them there.”

Surrey, like most cities, does restrict the size and placement of election signs, citing safety concerns.

Perhaps with good reason: large, inappropriately placed election signs were the suspected cause of a 2014 accident in Abbotsford where a pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries after being struck by a car.

READ: Placement of election signs in Abbotsford to be limited by bylaw

Chilliwack councillors, who debated the issue back in 2013, also chose not to curb signs.

“We have 100 square miles of community and it’s very hard if we limit it too greatly,” said Mayor Sharon Gaetz. She thinks common sense from candidates, and how voters react, will keep the landscape fairly clear.

“Most savvy politicians depends on other means, social media and traditional media, to get the word out,” she said.

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox Valley dance classes billed as female empowerment tool

New business focuses on ‘promoting positive body image’

New Cumberland fire hall goes to rezoning hearing

Official community plan is also to be amended for the site

Mother bear and two cubs spotted in Crown Isle neighbourhood in Courtenay

Reduce the risk of an interaction by removing potential food sources

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

‘Bad blood’ over pathology issue, says Island Health medical director

Regional hospital district board pushes for pathology service in Courtenay, Campbell River

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Most Read