DAN CEARNS The Standard
SCUGOG: Scugog council decided, at a meeting on Monday, February 5th, to approve an election signs bylaw.
At the meeting, councillors saw a report from clerk J.P. Newman, which included a proposed election sign bylaw.
One of the regulations in the bylaw restricts the display of these types of signs to private property only, “save and except regional and provincial roads.” This means no election signs are to be placed on Township property, which includes Township road allowances.
However, concerns were brought up on how this would affect those campaigning in rural wards.
“For those that are in the rural countryside, and live on a farm and are bound by township roads on all sides, will they need to put their signs in the cornfield?” Ward 4 Councillor Wilma Wotten asked. “If the house is far back, I don’t know where you would put it, you would have to put it in the field.”
Ward 1 Councillor Betty Somerville agreed with Councillor Wotten.
“If it can’t be on a road allowance, where can you put it?” she asked, later also asking what value putting a sign a ways up into someone’s property is.
Mr. Newman said he would not comment on what value an election sign is to a candidate, and also said he would not comment on where candidates should put their signs.
As well, in the bylaw, vehicles with signs displayed on or in the vehicle or trailer cannot be parked on any township owned property and can only be displayed on private property.
“However, the vehicle sign can be displayed while such [a] vehicle is in use on any highway in accordance with all applicable laws and bylaws,” Mr. Newman’s report states.
Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back questioned what the consequence would be for those who violate this section of the bylaw.
Mr. Newman responded, stating he would contact the candidate first, advising them of the rules, looking for “compliance” and if that didn’t work, they would follow through with charges.
Councillor Back also asked if the Township would communicate anything to the public regarding “unlawfully removing candidates signs.”
Mr. Newman said any vandalism or theft of a sign would be something the candidate should contact the police about.
“It’s not really something we can do anything about unfortunately,” he said.
Some of the other parts of the bylaw include requiring third party advertisers to include their name, the municipality where they are registered, and their contact information on all their signs or advertisements, and requiring election signs not to be displayed until “42 days in advance of voting day.”
Mayor Tom Rowett said he supported what was included in the draft bylaw. Council later decided to approve the bylaw and to have it brought forward at a council meeting for adoption.
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