The MD of Pincher Creek has asked a resident to take down a political sign from their property, citing the MD’s land use bylaw, which requires permitting for a broad spectrum of free-standing signs.
Development officer Laura McKinnon said the MD received a complaint about the sign on Thursday, May 18. The sign, which went up on a Burmis property owner’s fence line along Highway 3 at some point in the provincial election campaign, shows a graphic of a stop sign and bears the slogan Not Notley.
The land use bylaw (1289-18) specifically exempts “election signs” from any permitting requirements, according to Section 55.10, subsection (i), but the bylaw doesn’t explicitly define what an election sign is.
“There is definitely a precedent for this,” McKinnon told Shootin’ the Breeze.
In years past, homemade signs for and against the expansion of coal exploration on the Eastern Rockies and signs for and against logging also violated the bylaw and the MD requested that some of these be taken down, McKinnon said.
Billboards, canopy signs, free-standing signs, portable signs and other types of signs are considered discretionary uses and require permitting from the municipal planning commission, which sits on the first Tuesday of every month.
The agenda for the commission’s next meeting (Tuesday, June 6) has been finalized, meaning the next available opportunity to apply for the necessary permitting would be Tuesday, July 4 — 36 days after the provincial election.
Alleged bylaw infractions trigger notifications and requests for compliance by the MD. Formal, written requests are sent to property owners in the case of ongoing infractions. The MD can issue stop-work orders for alleged violations that continue past that point.
The MD informally contacted the owner of the property at issue on Thursday, asking that the sign be removed.
No letter or stop-work order has been issued, according to McKinnon.
Anyone in the MD is free to put up official election signs anywhere on their property, according to the bylaw.
Election signs can be put up on public land, provided the signs are put within safe distances from roadways, according to Alberta’s Election Act. However, election signs are not allowed to imitate traffic control signs, including stop signs, according to the Government of Alberta’s website.
MD council passed the land use bylaw in 2018. Enforcement is driven primarily by residents’ complaints, McKinnon said.
Albertans head to the polls Monday, May 29.
Advanced voting is open May 23 to 27.
For voter information, including polling stations, see pages 9 to 11.
Individual candidate statements:
Dylin Hauser – Alberta Liberal Party
Kevin Van Tighem – Alberta New Democratic Party
Kevin Todd – Alberta Party
Erik Abildgaard – Independent
Corrie Toone – Independence Party of Alberta
Chelsae Petrovic – United Conservative Party
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