A Majority of Yarmouth Town Council pledge not to use lawn signs in the upcoming municipal election.
Friday, August 14th, 2020 - Yarmouth, N.S. – At their August 13 meeting, Yarmouth Town Council discussed concerns that had been raised as a result of the new by-law prohibiting election signs in the Town of Yarmouth. The by-law was adopted at the July 9 Council meeting after all appropriate public notices, public hearings and other proper protocols were strictly adhered to.
Council voted overwhelmingly to place a stay on the enforcement of the election sign by-law as the most prudent way forward after reviewing all options. This means that even though the by-law is in effect, there will be no enforcement of the by-law, and election signs are able to be placed on lawns.
While consideration was given to potential litigation against the by-law and costs thereto, the decision to place a stay on the enforcement was based mainly on the perceived notion that the by-law may create an advantage for incumbents, and Council wanted to avoid that argument during this election. Councillor Jim MacLeod noted that he has been elected four times to Council, without once erecting a sign.
Further, the option to repeal the by-law would be ineffective for this year’s municipal election as there is not enough time between now and election day to do the repeal. Repealing a bylaw is a three-month process and the election is two months away. Council will not take any steps to repeal.
The majority of Council members pledged to not use lawn signs in the upcoming election as they believe the merits of the rationale behind the by-law hold true, whether the by-law is enforced or not. Some of these merits are as follows:The majority of Council members pledged to not use lawn signs in the upcoming election as they believe the merits of the rationale behind the by-law hold true, whether the by-law is enforced or not. Some of these merits are as follows:
• Environmental concerns: we should not be in the business of creating more plastics for landfills if we care about the environment
• One should not win an election solely based on the number of signs put up
• Many cannot afford signs and a no-signs by-law levels the field and allows everyone an equal opportunity, financially, to run in an election
• No signs will encourage those running to reach out to voters and will encourage voters to get to know both new candidates and present council members and their respective platforms/records. Citizen engagement would be increased.
• There are many alternatives to erecting signs including making phone calls to voters, debates, brochures, social media, mainstream media and other platforms.
The stay on enforcement will remain in effect until such time as the new council determines how it wants to proceed.