Oakville Election Sign By-Law: Restrict to Private Property

Council votes on February 23, 2015

Pam Damoff Election Sign on Private Property
Oakville Election Sign By-Law: Restrict to Private Property
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Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff, a politician, community activist and business professional with over 25 years’ corporate experience on Bay Street, was elected to represent the riding of Oakville North-Burlington in the House of Commons in the 2015 federal election. Prior to the election, Pam served as an Oakville Town Councillor from 2010-2015.

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The motion put forward is that “election signs be restricted to private property” by Councllor Cathy Duddeck and I will be voted on at Council on February 23rd. Thanks to those residents who have already provided input.

First we should be clear that we are not asking that election signs be banned. We are asking that they be restricted to private property (as in the photo above, courtesy of Kevin September) – something that Burlington, Mississauga and the Region of Halton have already done. Town staff are supportive of this restriction.

This change would mean that election signs would not be allowed on the municipal road allowance, and that candidates would have to ask permission from businesses or home owners in order to place their signs. Signs would still be allowed on private property (including on major streets) but permission would have to be given.

Election signs provide a candidate’s name, but they do not engage voters in a meaningful way. Especially during a municipal election, when there are many candidates running, the sheer number of signs only adds to voter confusion. In some ways, it could distract candidates from engaging and expressing their platforms with the voters who they wish to represent. We have received emails from many people expressing their support, including municipal candidates who were unsuccessful this past election. We had an email from MP Terence Young, who is supportive of the change, and said he has had volunteers injured while installing signs during an election campaign.

Signs on private property still allow for name recognition, while keeping our greenspace in the condition which we expect in Oakville.

By far the biggest expense (or one of the biggest) in an election campaign is signs. These costs can be prohibitive for new candidates – and the time to install and “maintain” election signs, and money involved, takes you away from knocking on doors and engaging with the voters.

Last but not least, there is a significant cost to the taxpayers of Oakville for town staff to enforce our sign bylaws during an election campaign.

We feel that restricting signs to private property is the right thing to do for all of the reasons listed above. If you haven’t already, please send your thoughts to membersofcouncil@oakville.ca

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