Woodstock council wants clear rules and regulations surrounding who and what it promotes on banners, flags and displays around town. With past decisions made on an informal basis, council will soon approve a formal policy.
A special committee, headed by Coun Julie Calhoun-Williams, studied and developed a proposed banner policy. She introduced the committee’s recommendations at council’s Aug. 29 meeting.
The committee recommended that council adopt the proposed draft policy. Council also published an extensive draft policy on its website to allow interested groups and the general public to respond.
Calhoun-Williams noted the policy will need further consideration by staff. Council passed a motion at the Aug. 29 meeting to instruct staff to create a formal policy, using the committee’s recommendations as its basis.
The new policy could affect what organizations can promote causes, events and campaigns using the highly visible light post banners along Main and other downtown streets.
Asked how the new policy will affect the future of commonly seen banners lining downtown Woodstock, Mayor Trina Jones said that remains unclear until council approves the final policy.
“At this time, I have no further comments on this until staff bring forward the actual policy to council to see if they have further suggestions or any concerns,” she said.
Jones expects staff to present its recommendation to the council at one of the meetings in October.
“I will be able to provide more context around that during the council meeting where we review and possibly adopt it.”
As posted on the Town of Woodstock website, the draft policy identifies specific rules and requirements involving lamp-post banners. Banner Policy Recommendation to Council_updated Aug 14.pdf (municipalwebsites.ca)
It states all lamp-post banner requests must be made through a town-issued request form and submitted before Feb. 15 of the calendar year. It explains the requests go to the town’s tourism department for approval.
The draft policy notes the approved banners meet town specifications and timelines.
It also requires that the organization requesting the display of the banners must have a signed MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the town and be a well-established organization in the area.
The draft policy limits banners to tourism and heritage promotion.
The one exception to the stated rules in the proposed policy surrounds the annual Remembrance Day Banners honouring the community’s veterans.
In dealing with what flags, in addition to the Canadian and New Brunswick flags, the town can fly on its property, the committee recommended the town adopt the federal and provincial standards.
The committee also recommended council approve a policy surrounding what type of organization, event or cause the town can promote on its social media and website.
The proposed policy will also set regulations surrounding issuing proclamations and displaying coloured lights on town infrastructure to promote various campaigns and causes.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun