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

VIU Mariners coach Larry Stefanek. (Black Press File Photo)
Parksville soccer coach Stefanek earns special national certification

VIU Mariners head coach one of 30 in Canada to complete program

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin (B.C. Conservative Party)
BC Conservatives leader fights back after BC Liberals leak 2018 workplace harassment case

Sexual harassment case was connected to employee being terminated, WorkSafeBC found

Most Read