Oak Bay grants leeway for election signs

Campaign sings popping up on lawns may contravene with Oak Bay’s sign bylaw, but council told staff to not enforce the policy

Campaign sings popping up on lawns may be in technical contravention with Oak Bay’s sign bylaw, but council told staff to not enforce the policy due to an unusual set of circumstances.

“It is important to the election process that we deal with this,” Jensen said. “We can, and have in the past, provided enforcement policy … in a very general nature.”

Oak Bay’s sign bylaw that doesn’t allow for the unusual 78 days between when the election was called and the Oct. 19 voting day. Oak Bay’s sign bylaw states signs can go up no more than 30 days before an election.

“It’s never been a problem in my experience in a federal or provincial election,” said mayor Nils Jensen during a special council held Friday morning specifically to address the issue. That section of the bylaw was likely “created in the way it was due to esthetics,” Jensen said, avoiding an overload of signs blighting the landscape which he called a “laudable goal.”

Amending the bylaw would take four to six weeks so council opted to ask staff to disregard that portion of the bylaw related to campaign signs. Staff also use discretion with enforcement of signs that warn of deer and support the CBC, which appear throughout the community.

During the Aug. 21 morning meeting, Coun. Kevin Murdoch also asked that staff add it to their list of things to consider during priority setting.

 

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite suggested she’d like to see the subject broached, adding she saw contravention of the bylaw during the last municipal election. “I would like to see the sign bylaw made much clearer.”