Election lawn signs could get banned in Brampton
Published November 28, 2022 at 10:22 am
Brampton could become the first Ontario city to ban election lawn signs following an unprecedented number of complaints and fines during last month’s municipal election.
Brampton bylaw enforcement officers seized nearly 6,400 signs from candidates running in the Oct. 23 election, racking up more than $150,000 in fines.
But a motion from Coun. Rowena Santos looks to outlaw lawn signs. If the new bylaw is approved by council, all external campaign signage will be prohibited but residents and businesses will still be able to display signs in windows.
Council heard a report on the city’s struggle with election signs back in May of 2021 which recommended banning lawn signs in favour of window displays, and increasing restrictions on signage.
Santos noted high clean up costs for the city, excessive signage, complaints, driver distraction, and tampering among reasons for making the changes.
Council heard from staff that Brampton already has some of the province’s toughest sign bylaws, but would be the first Ontario municipality to ban lawn signs if the changes are approved.
“We are among the more restrictive municipalities in only allowing it on private property to begin with, but there is no one right now that is only permitting them in the interior of the dwelling or business,” Elizabeth Corazzola, manager of zoning and sign bylaw services with the City, told council on Wednesday.
The city could also increase fines for sign violations, as council heard illegal signs aren’t just an election issue. The City has seized some 33,000 illegal signs so far this year.
Santos says the proposed bylaw changes could help reduce election campaign “sign wars” in Brampton and reduce costs to both candidates and the City.
On Sept. 30, candidates were given the all-clear to put up signs in Brampton to promote themselves for the municipal election. In less than one week, the City said there had been 46 complaints, and that number ballooned to more than 275 service requests for illegal signs.
Brampton bylaw said each reported sign must be inspected, photographed, and placed in the city’s storage hanger before they are disposed of. Council heard the hangar was emptied and filled multiple times during the election and staff couldn’t keep up with the number of illegal signs.
Corazzola told council it’s possible the bylaw could be challenged for provincial and federal elections, but added that the City is allowed to regulate signage under the Municipal act.
The proposed bylaw changes will need to be ratified by council at its next regular meeting before coming into place.insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising