Coun. Colin Plant has proposed a number of measures to stop the proliferation of signs during municipal election campaigns. Submitted.

Saanich councillor wants to stop ‘sign wars’ of past municipal elections

Coun. Colin Plant has proposed a quartet of recommendations designed to declutter campaigns

A Saanich councillor wants to stop the ‘sign wars’ of past municipal elections.

“During and after the [last municipal] campaign Saanich residents, business operators and candidates alike remarked that there were too many campaign signs and that they had become a form of visual pollution,” said Coun. Colin Plant in a report to council presenting recommendations to help Saanich limit the quantity, size and display duration of election signs.

RELATED: Saanich municipal candidate plays politics by a different tune

Plant said the report does not intend to create any real or perceived advantage or disadvantage for any council candidate. In fact, the recommendations may actually help level the playing field, said Plant, who considers himself to have been part of the problem.

The first calls on Saanich to only permit election signs during the campaign period and align sign policies with provincial and federal policies. The current Saanich bylaw allows signs to appear at the start of the nomination period, which is longer than the actual campaign period. Changing it would cut about 10 days during which signs would appear, he said, adding it would align Saanich with provincial regulations that permit signs on provincial land only during the campaign period.

The second recommendation calls on Saanich to only permit smaller so-called ‘lawn’ signs usually no taller than 36” on Saanich public lands. This would reduce ‘sign wars’ at intersections, he said. Private property owners would still be able to display larger signs, provided it was not on any Saanich public land, such easements, right of ways or boulevard. This would also limit the advertising surface and and height of larger signs.

The third recommendation would limit the locations, as well as the number of sizes candidates could display in drawing on current practice in Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

RELATED: Used election signs could serve as emergency shelters, B.C. candidate says

Finally, Plant also recommends staff bring forward any other additional recommendations as they implement the recommended changes.

“I am absolutely aware these items may or may not go forward as a package or be amended,” he said. “I am hoping all are accepted and that my colleagues consider adding their insights and ideas. Clearly to me, 2018 was too much and we need to self-regulate.”

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