The next civic elections in Langley Township could look very different, after the new council moved to ban candidate signs on public property.
A motion by Councillor Tim Baillie called for staff to amend the Election and Political Signs Bylaw, prohibiting any and all election signage on Township public property, including along roadways.
Signs would only be allowed on private land, such as front lawns.
Not only are the signs ugly and environmentally wasteful, Baillie said, they use up a lot of Township staff resources in responding to complaints about them.
“Everyone’s got better things to do than picking up signs, and policing them,” Baillie said.
Coun. Margaret Kunst voted against the motion, saying she thought a ban on signs would favour incumbent councillors.
She also noted that Langley City has a similar bylaw severely restricting where election signs can be placed, and they had extremely low turnout recently. The profusion of signs at least lets people know there’s an election going on, she said.
But the rest of council was ready to restrict signs to private property only.
Coun. Misty Van Popta suggested that the Township could help boost turnout with some official signs letting people know about voting dates, at key intersections. She also asked that the report on options look at what neighbouring municipalities have done about the issue.
There were some changes to election sign bylaws in the Township since the last term, noted Coun. Steve Ferguson, but there was still frustration, and some issues about safety at intersections due to signs restricting views.
“I think this election again proved that something has to be done,” said Mayor Eric Woodward.
The motion does not immediately ban election signs. Council will have a chance to debate and vote on whatever amendment to the sign bylaw staff suggests at a future council meeting.
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