Political campaign signs will be absent from the city’s waterfront this November when the municipal election campaign gets underway.
An amendment to the city’s sign bylaw to ban election candidate signs along the water was given first, second and third reading at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“I’m one of the culprits who wanted this because of what I call ‘sign pollution’ during elections,” said Coun. Roy Grant. “I think the whole idea here, in my opinion, is that all election signs should be on private property. That’s what I’ve done in the past.”
Provincial, federal, municipal election, as well as any referendum signs are banned from public property along the ocean side of the Island Highway between 1st Avenue and Ocean Grove Road under the bylaw change.
Coun. Andy Adams, who was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting, brought forward his concerns over election signs in May.
He said at the time, election signs were taking away from the city’s natural beauty.
“I’d like to look into some sort of bylaw to protect our waterfront from being littered with signs as it was in the last municipal election, which was an embarrassment to our community,” Adams had said.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1993 that a municipality cannot ban election signs from all public property but the City of Campbell River already has a bylaw that prohibits election signs from public parks.
Peter Wipper, city clerk, said taking that into account, it seems reasonable that the city “should continue to ban election signage on park property and this could easily include the city’s waterfront walkway.”
Mayor Charlie Cornfield didn’t see the need for the new rules.
“It’s personally never bothered me. It’s in such a short period of time, as long as they’re cleaned up afterwards,” Cornfield said. “I think signage is a necessary tool for candidates to get their name out.”
Election signs can be put up in Campbell River for the Nov. 26 city election as of Oct. 4 and must come down no later than seven days after the election.