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

Lynn scores two as Caps strike first

Cowichan scores four in the third to dump Powell River 6-3

Second fire in as many weeks at Chemainus Secondary

UPDATE**2:10 p.m. students are being dismissed from school. “For those that take… Continue reading

Shawnigan Hills parkrun report for Feb. 22

New record of 38 participants

Homelessness and affordability raised as major concerns in CVRD survey

But most CVRD residents content with quality of life

Arts and Entertainment column: From opera to jazz to burlesque, it’s all coming up in Cowichan

On the big screen at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, classic Porgy and Bess.

Toddler killed in Squamish grocery store parking lot

Child’s mother taken to hospital but her condition is not known

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

B.C. mother, daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Leap Year means we get an extra day in February, so how are you spending it?

People online have a number of suggestions and plans on how they will be spending Saturday

Greta sticker that drew outrage in Alberta not child pornography: RCMP

X-Site Energy Services has denied having anything to do with the stickers

Bald eagle hit by train in northern B.C. has a chance of survival

The raptor has been taken to OWL in the Lower Mainland for recovery

Cheslatta Carrier Nation and Rio Tinto sign a historic agreement

Co-operation crucial to stem dropping Nechako Reservoir level

Hundreds of B.C. firefighters ‘climb the wall’ for BC Lung Association

The charity fundraiser saw participants climbing up 48 storeys

Most Read