To help organize and keep campaigns fair during the upcoming municipal election, the Town of Strathmore is implementing an election sign bylaw to clearly dictate rules on the topic.
According to Director of Strategic and Administrative Services, Kara Rusk, the bylaw is meant to essentially represent housekeeping efforts for clarification, rather than imposing notable restrictions on candidates.
“This bylaw should help answer questions we receive about elections signs during each municipal election,” she explained. “Our new bylaw sets clear guidelines that help candidates share their messages while keeping sightlines along roads safe.”
She added to her knowledge, there had not been any notable problems regarding the placement of election signs in the past, and if there were grievances, signs were quickly relocated without incident.
“Strathmore is a very respectful community. When signs have been identified as a concern in the past candidates have moved them when our team has reached out to them,” she said.
Mayor Pat Fule added a particular topic of note, which was discussed in council last week, regarding how far signs had to be placed from traffic intersections, as well as what the acceptable size and height of signs could be.
He regarded the rules put in place in those respects are there in part for public safety so signs do not become a hazardous distraction on the road.
“We’re trying to be a little more cognizant of the distance in the highway situations as far as signs [go], and how close they can be and what we’re allowed as far as Alberta Transportation,” said Fule.
According to the new bylaw, signs for municipal elections may be set up as early as 60 days prior to the election and must be removed within three days after election day.
Signs may also not exceed 1.5m² in total sign area and cannot be higher than 1.0 meter above ground level. Signs must also not be illuminated or attached to trees.
Fule said the bylaw’s rules introduce more clarity and consistency to the upcoming election and make the process fairer for all candidates.
“[Come] election time, there are … many signs throughout the community, and we just want to make sure that everything is followed correctly, and that it’s a fair, level playing field for everybody,” he said.
The next municipal election in Strathmore will be held on Oct. 18. Prior to that, nomination day is noted to be on Sept. 20.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times