NEW ELECTION SIGNAGE RULES AGAIN FOR RUS­SELL TOWNSHIP

Le Reflet (The News) - - ACTUALITIES / NEWS - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

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.

—pho­to ar­chives

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.

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