Election signs must follow rules

Like mushrooms after the rain, election signs spring up quickly during every civic campaign in the Langleys.

Signs started going up on Oct. 10 in Langley City and in the Township on Oct. 26.

By Monday morning, one day after signs were first allowed, election officer Bob Wilson said there had been four complaints, including a couple for issues of blocking sight lines, one for a sign that was too high, and one for a sign in a traffic circle.

Signs in the Township are allowed along medians, but they can’t block the view of drivers or other road users.

If there is a safety issue, Township bylaw officers will pull the offending sign, and the candidate who owns it is alerted.

The Township was considering a comprehensive bylaw for campaign signs, and it was brought before the council in January this year.

The new rules would have banned signs within 30 meters of an intersection, within two meters of the curb or nearest driving lane, and would have increased fines to $200 for violations.

Some of the proposed rules suggested that Township staff were worried about high-tech gimmicks distracting drivers.

Signs “must not be animated, illuminated, rotating, flashing or have moving lights or other electrical features [and] must not have attachments such as balloons, kites, an electronic message centre or inflatable devices,” reads one section of the proposed bylaw.

The rules were never implemented. The Township council voted to send them to the Council Priorities Committee for further consideration. Wilson said they were bumped by other urgent concerns until the fall, when the election was about to begin. 

He’s hoping the proposal will be considered next year by the new incoming council.

The rules in Langley City are more restrictive than those in the Township, but allow signs to be up for longer times.

Potential candidates for mayor, council, or school board can only put up signs on private property, with the owner’s permission.

In addition, there are two public areas where signs can be placed: along the BC Hydro right of way on 200th Street just north of 48th Avenue, or along the edge of the Gateway of Hope shelter property on the Langley Bypass.

According to the City’s election officer Carolyn Mushata, there haven’t been any complaints so far this year about improperly placed signs.

Candidates are responsible for removing the signs shortly after the vote.

“They must be gone by Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m.,” said Wilson. City candidates have seven days to remove their signs.

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