Nova Scotia

Yarmouth moves to ban election signs, Kentville to consider restrictions

Kentville will consider whether to restrict municipal candidates to six signs apiece, while Yarmouth has changed its land-use bylaws to outright ban them ahead of municipal elections scheduled for October.

Bylaw change, proposal come ahead of municipal elections scheduled for October

Yarmouth recently amended its land-use bylaw to ban election signs. The move still needs to be signed off on by the municipal affairs minister. (Robert Short/CBC)

Election signs have grabbed the attention of a couple of Nova Scotia municipalities ahead of municipal elections scheduled for across the province in October.

Kentville is considering limiting municipal candidates to a maximum of six signs each, and town council will hold a virtual public hearing on the proposal on July 22.

Coun. Eric Bolland proposed the change as a way to reduce plastic waste.

"The majority of election signs are not recyclable," said Bolland. "They go to the trash."

Meanwhile, the Town of Yarmouth has approved an amendment to its land-use bylaw banning all election signs: municipal, provincial and federal.

Mayor Pam Mood said the move was made not just for environmental reasons, but also to level the playing field for all candidates.

"We have folks that want to run but they just don't have the funds behind them to purchase signs," said Mood. "It's just making it even, right across the board."

The minister of municipal affairs usually signs off on amendments to the land-use bylaws of a municipality.  A spokesperson for the department said in an email it had only recently been made aware of Yarmouth's decision to prohibit election signs and is "currently assessing the situation."

Halifax mayoral candidates

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, who is reoffering, didn't put up signs in the 2016 election and has no plans to put up signs in the upcoming race. But he said he is not convinced a ban is the right way to go.

"What I'm told is that if you ban election signs it could potentially be a violation of people's right of free expression," said Savage. "It might not be allowed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

The only other candidate in Halifax's mayoralty race, Matt Whitman, has also decided not to put up election signs.

After being contacted by CBC for comment, Whitman congratulated Yarmouth on Twitter for its decision to bring in a ban.

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