Election sign guidelines now law
Bruce Hain and Rick Vanderlinde Simcoe.com Aug 18, 2010
INNISFIL – Council has put a few more teeth in its election sign rules by making its “candidate guidelines” an official bylaw.
That means the town can now remove any candidates signs that don’t follow those rules.
However, the bylaw doesn’t officially come into effect until Sept. 11, only five weeks before the Oct. 25 election.
Coun. Peter Kmet was the only councillor to oppose the new bylaw, partially because it says signs must be at least 15 metres apart.
Kmet complained that at 15 metres homeowners with smaller properties would not be allowed more than a single sign.
“What if the husband supports one candidate and the wife supports another,” he said. “That’s just not fair.”
In the 2006 municipal election, a proliferation of signs along the 10th Line west of Stroud became an eyesore after one candidate flooded the street with signs, only to be copied by the other two candidates in the ward. Kmet was part of that sign war.
Kmet, who is running against Doug Lougheed, is the only municipal candidate to have already installed signs in his precinct. The new bylaw states signage should only be allowed in a period beginning six weeks before the Oct. 25 election.
Other hopeful candidates have voiced concern the passage of the bylaw could have a financial impact on those people who had already ordered, and paid for campaign signs.
Town clerk Jason Reynar told council signs along County of Simcoe roads, such as Yonge Street, are subject to specific guidelines, such as the six-week rule. Adopting a comprehensive clause to deal with sign placement at intersections is difficult, Reynar said, because intersections are different throughout the town in terms of traffic volume and sightlines.
“Candidates should seek clarification” from his department regarding sign placement at intersections, Reynar said.
Council debated an election sign bylaw in September 2009. But that was put on the backburner following opposition from federal campaign workers, who wanted a more common sense approach as opposed to legislation.
With high turnover in the clerk’s department this year, a new proposal didn’t come forth until this month.