Political signs ousted in Oak Bay

Special Friday morning council meeting to deal with lengthy election campaign

Oak Bay council meets early this morning (Aug. 21) to address its sign bylaw that does not allow for the current 78-day federal election campaign.

With the election slated for Oct. 19, campaigning started as soon as the writ was dropped earlier this month. Oak Bay’s sign bylaw states signs can go up no more than 30 days before an election.

“There were a few removed the week before last in accordance with our bylaw,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen. “We realized the bylaw didn’t contemplate a 78-day election campaign. It was really designed for your 37-day election campaign.”

He called a special council meeting for 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 21 to deal with the issue and sort out the enforcement policy.

Staff use discretion with signs that warn of deer and support the CBC, which appear throughout the community.

“There is a certain freedom of speech element that has to be balanced when it comes to CBC signs, staff has been using their discretion,” Jensen said. “It really is up to staff to do enforcement of our regulations and policy. To give them any specific direction on what they should and shouldn’t enforce is not appropriate. That’s why I’m calling a meeting Friday morning.”

Jensen notes that amending a bylaw can usually take four to six weeks and there’s only one council meeting scheduled for Sept. 28 with a committee of the whole meeting slated for Sept. 14.

“I anticipate on Friday morning council will look at two things, giving direction to staff in terms of enforcement policy and then the other option we have … would be to look to update our bylaw by bringing forth amendments.”

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