New Maple Ridge bylaw would clear up signs

Council to look at rule changes, which could prohibit them on public property.

Maple Ridge councillors may have had enough of election signs after the recent civic elections.

Council, at its last meeting on Nov. 25, was to look at a series of steps that could limit the amount of visual promotion during election time.

“It was over the top this time,” said outgoing mayor Ernie Daykin.

“I know that at least two candidates had 500 signs.”

Coun. Bob Masse suggested that council look at some restrictions on how advertising can be done on the street. Other cities have taken similar measures.

“I don’t even think they’re all that effective.”

Daykin himself had 40 signs, which 1.3 metres by 1.3 metres, 26 larger signs and 180 smaller lawn signs, “and it was like I had no signs.”

But he’s not blaming his defeat in the election to his lack of signs.

Daykin lost the Nov. 15 election in his bid for a third term as mayor to newcomer Nicole Read.

Under the new bylaw, if approved, signs won’t be allowed on city property or in city parks.

If on private property, they would have to have the owner’s permission. However, strata councils couldn’t prohibit owners from displaying signs.

During municipal elections, signs wouldn’t be able to be put up until 21 days before voting day. For provincial and federal elections, they could go up 30 days before the election.

Limits on the size of signs are also included, and they can’t be illuminated, under the proposed bylaw.

They also can’t be placed where they interfere with traffic or pedestrian movement and there can only be one sign from each candidate in any particular location.

Anyone who wants to put up election signs has to place a $100 deposit with the city and remove them within four days after the election.

The plan was to give the election sign bylaw third reading on Tuesday, one of council’s last acts before it dissolves and the new council is sworn in Dec. 1.

Daykin said he would support it.

“The clutter, I think, having some limitations, is good for the clutter.”

The new council, which will sit for the next four years, should decide whether to give it the sign bylaw fourth and final reading.

“I think all we can do is give it three readings and the next council will have to finish it off.

“Hopefully, that will help the incoming council and nobody will say there was ulterior motives,” said Daykin.

Maple Ridge is also in the process of revising its overall sign bylaw that applies to business signs.