NEW ELECTION SIGNAGE RULES AGAIN FOR RUSSELL TOWNSHIP
Candidates in the municipal election in Russell Township can post their campaign signs on public roads but they will have to make sure those sites meet the new conditions in the latest revision to the municipal signage bylaw.
Council spent about a half hour during its September 4 public session debating the merits of reversing a decision earlier this year for a ban on election campaign signage along public roads or allowing campaign signs along public roads under certain conditions. The situation resulted because of a threat from one mayoral candidate’s legal counsel for a Charter of Rights challenge against the election signage ban clause revision to the local signage bylaw.
“I’m of the opinion we need to defend the bylaws that we pass at the table,” said Coun. Jamie Laurin, who also admitted that he was “the conflicted opinion” of defending a revision to the bylaw that he voted against when it was first proposed.
Laurin also noted that there are 11 other candidates running for either mayor or a council seat in next month’s civic election and their campaign budget plans are already based on the fact that they are not allowed to post signs along public roads. He asked what council would do if someone then complains about reversing the ban on campaign signs and demands a reversal on the reversal. "We're in a very sticky situation here," Laurin said. “In my opinion, we need to defend our bylaws.”
Mayor Pierre Leroux noted that the township spent about half a million dollars in legal costs when it was forced several years ago to defend itself against special interest groups opposed to a signage bylaw revision dealing with bilingualism for local signage. He asked if council was prepared to go to court now for a Charter challenge to its signage bylaw.
Chief Administrator Jean Leduc indicated that a revision of the bylaw could set conditions for posting election signs along public roads and in locations other than on private property . Public Safety and Enforcement Director Millie Bourdeau presented council with a suggested list of conditions for election signage at locations other than on private property.
After reviewing the suggested revision, council went into an in-camera session for discussion on any legal aspects. Following the in-camera session, council reviewed and approved revisions to the signage bylaw that sets conditions for allowing election signage along public roads and in other locations other than private property.
Le conseil du canton de Russell a approuvé une autre modification au règlement sur la signalisation. Ce dernier changement définit les conditions dans lesquelles les panneaux de campagne électorale sont autorisés sur les voies publiques et ailleurs que sur les propriétés privées.