Wednesday, June 1, 2022

May 30 Council Notes: Election Signs; More Voting Options; Arts, Culture, and Heritage

On Monday, Langley City Council adopted some changes that will impact the upcoming local government elections in the fall.

Council gave final reading to a bylaw that increases the number of people that must nominate a candidate running for Mayor or Council from two to ten. This change helps to ensure that there is meaningful support from qualified electors for candidates running.

The same bylaw adds a new advanced voting opportunity for anybody at the Langley Senior Resources Society. It also enables voter registration by mail and voting by mail.

Council also gave first, second, and third reading to a bylaw that will change the size of election signs and where they are allowed.

Currently during the campaign period, people can place political signs on private property (with the property owner's authorization), by the Gateway of Hope, and under the BC Hydro powerlines at 200th Street.

Signs placed at the Gateway of Hope and powerlines are continually subject to vandalism, including defacement. Many sign pieces end up in our green spaces and waterways.

As someone who has run three election campaigns, I can tell you that it is stressful and discouraging to maintain these signs at the two public locations. After my first campaign, I didn't even place a sign at the Gateway of Hope location. The only reason I put signs under the Hydro powerlines was because everyone else did.

The proposed changes to the Sign Bylaw will still allow political signs on private property with the property owner's permission, but will no longer allow political signs on any public property, including at the Gateway of Hope and under the BC Hydro powerlines along 200th Street.

To cut down on waste and reduce cost, which is good for the environment and helps lower the barrier for new candidates to run, the updated bylaw reduces the maximum sign size from 4' x 8' to 4' x 4'.

On a different topic, Council also approved the work plan of the newly created Arts, Recreation, Culture and Heritage Committee. The committee's work plan for this year includes: working on a new mural at Rotary Centennial Park, installing signage about the railways that historically ran through Langley City, placing an art installation at Glover Road and the Langley Bypass, incorporating artist and artisan events in our parks, installing cultural displays throughout the community and markers in Douglas Park, exploring hosting the ARCH Film Festival, and facilitating performance art in Langley City.

Council also gave final reading to the 2021-25 Financial Plan amendment bylaw, which I posted on previously.

Finally, Council voted to continue meeting via Zoom until a hybrid in-person/remote solution is in place for meetings.

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