The Liberal campaign in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge is accusing the Conservatives of foul play, by putting up more election signs than Maple Ridge bylaws allow.
Liberal campaign organizer Derek Robson said the campaigns are allowed a total of 300 signs, and 100 larger signs, and he complained to city hall that the Conservatives had exceeded the large sign limit by at least 35.
“They’re way over the limit,” he told The News. “I think they’ve got some overzealous teams out there.”
The election team working for candidate Ahmed Yousef forwarded their complaints with incumbent Marc Dalton’s workers to city hall, complete with a digital map showing the many signs. Robson said his campaign workers were frustrated by their perception the Conservatives had too many signs out, so they did a count.
“When they start to drown out the other parties, and it looks like they have dominance, then it becomes a problem for us,” said Robson.
“We had a gentleman’s agreement to play fair on signs,” he added. “They’ve got twice as many signs up as we do.”
Robson agrees with the sign bylaw, saying there must be limits to “make sure Maple Ridge doesn’t turn into a battleground of polyplast.”
The bylaws limit the total number of signs to 300, and place a further limit of 100 on larger signs. The bylaw states they can be a maximum of 16 square feet, both sides see ambiguity in what signs are limited to just 100. Both campaigns agree the bylaw could be more clear.
The Conservatives checked with City Hall, and were told they will not need to take down any says, according to campaign manager Jay Denney.
Denney said Dalton’s team has tried to stay within the city bylaws, and checked with officers where clarity is needed. They heard no complaints from city officials.
Denney said the Liberals may have counted their double-sided signs twice, but bylaws assured him they are to be counted once.
Denney said the campaign has been asked to remove signs that were placed where they are not allowed, and “we sprang into action immediately.”
He said bylaws officers are busy people, and “We won’t be sending them on goose chases for political gain.”
The city confirmed receipt of a complaint from one of the local campaign offices relating to violations of the sign bylaw.
City staff have reached out to the campaign office that was the subject of the complaint and they have made the commitment to deal with the location, number of signs and sign sizes to be in compliance with the bylaw, said Michelle Orsetti, bylaws director.
She noted small signs on a person’s front lawn are not included in the scope of the sign bylaw.
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