OLDS — Anyone wishing to run for town council in the Oct. 18 municipal election can file their nomination papers during business hours at town hall from now until Sept. 20.
But they’re not allowed to set out lawn signs until noon on Sept. 20 because town councillors are concerned those signs could ruin efforts to beautify the community. So they placed that sign limitation clause in their election bylaw.
During an interview, Coun. Mary Jane Harper said councillors have expressed concern that the amount of time for people to file papers and run is too long under current legislation.
“We always felt that you know, we’ve spent so much money beautifying our town, why have election signage for 10 months? And it is a long period of time,” said Harper.
According to the bylaw, candidates cannot begin setting out lawn signs until noon on Sept. 20. They can remain up until 72 hours after Election Day. And they can only be set out on road right-of-ways in town.
“Did you know that a lot of municipalities did not add that to their election bylaw,” she asked. “Therefore, (in those communities) people can start actually putting up election signs the minute they file their nomination papers.”
Coun. Mary Anne Overwater also raised concerns about election signage coming out too early.
“I mean, I don’t think people would want to see my big signs up for 10 months," said Overwater.
“We put a lot of money into the beautification of our community and if it's going to be littered with sign pollution really – I mean, that ends up being what happens in an election, it becomes sign pollution – and why cover up all the beautiful flowers that we have, the shrubs, the art, everything?”