New Bylaw for Election Signage
Prince George, B.C. – Soon, election signs will be few and far between in Prince George.
Council has supported a new election sign bylaw that would limit the placing of signs on City property to 14 general sites in the City, and in specific areas at those sites.
The bylaw means there will no longer be election signs on City Boulevards however, it does not cover the major highways as both Highway 16 and 97 are covered by provincial rules and regulations.
Election signs can still be placed on private property as long as the property owner has given approval.
Councillor Murry Krause says he is pleased to support the bylaw, saying he is aware residents find the placement of signs “unsightly”.
Councillor Garth Frizzell says he is concerned about the impact the reduction in signage might have on voter participation. Having looked at a couple of municipal elections in B.C. he says it’s difficult to see if the lack of signage has an impact on voter turnout. He also wonders if reduced signage also works in favour of the incumbents as name recognition may play a part in a voter’s decision.
“If I had my way, they (election signs) probably wouldn’t exist at all” says Councillor Jillian Merrick. She says limiting the areas means the playing field for candidates will be levelled.
Councillor Albert Koehler says if the bylaw doesn’t cover the highways, perhaps there should be a discussion with the Ministry of Transportation otherwise, the highway roadside will become “a free zone” and will be loaded with signage.
Councillor Frank Everitt says he doesn’t see this bylaw as putting anyone at an advantage or disadvantage “People have budgets, and they will simply be putting their dollars elsewhere.”
The Ministry does have regulations in place for signage and the bylaw is meant to be “in line” with the Ministry rules.
The bylaw is expected to be in place in time for the referendum that will be held this fall to deal with possibly borrowing $50 million dollars for the construction of a new Fire Hall and a replacement for the Four Season’s pool.
This is good policy that I support. For an informed democracy I think the most important thing is that all candidates have equal opportunity to have their views published on specific issues and policy by and through local media. The signs are just a side show distraction IMO.
Well Jillian Merrick, this time you will not have your way. Too bad so sad.
Now go sit in the bike lanes and watch your paint dry.
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