There should be no literal signs of the election in St. Albert before Monday.
Candidate signs are a huge part of elections, but for candidates in St. Albert, they can’t put out election signage until the close of the nomination period on Sept. 23.
At 12 noon on Monday, candidates can go ahead and post their signs – providing they follow size and placement regulations laid out in the city’s land use bylaw and the traffic bylaw.
Stu Fraser, the peace officer program supervisor for the city, was on-hand to remind candidates of the rules on Wednesday night during an information session.
“Don’t rely on the fact that there may be somebody else’s sign out there as your guideline,” Fraser said, reminding candidates are responsible for clear sightlines at intersections.
He suggested talking to volunteers about the rules before sending them out to place signs. If a candidate’s sign is moved, or disappears, the candidate is still responsible for the sign.
“Welcome to the public eye and the public limelight,” Fraser said.
Signs found in violation can result in a fine of $150 per sign that’s seized, Fraser said.
He pleaded with candidates to make sure they go out and clean up their signs after the election.
New this year under sign regulations is a minimum size for election signs placed along St. Albert Trail. Those signs must be at least 1.22 metres by 1.22 metres.
Returning officer and chief legislative officer Chris Belke noted election signs could be placed early if there is a development permit for it.
Fraser noted some complaints had already been received about election signs.
He said municipal enforcement would likely start with education regarding violations of the sign rules before moving to fining candidates.
In an interview the day after the meeting, Fraser said there had been two reported complaints about sign violations, one of which was passed along to municipal enforcement.
Fraser confirmed one of the incidents reported included lawn signs along Ellesmere Drive. When the Gazette drove that road it appeared Coun. Cathy Heron supporters jumped the gun, with two lawn signs visible on a property on Wednesday.
“It appears to be an over-eager volunteer who put it out on their personal property,” Fraser said. “We’ll be speaking to them.”
Overall, Fraser said this isn’t an area where a lot of charges are laid, but asked candidates to make sure they clean up after the election is over. He said in the last election public works needed to help clean up signs.
When contacted, Heron hadn’t heard yet about the signs in the yard along Ellesmere, but said signs had been handed out at a campaign event earlier in the week with instructions to not put them out until Monday.
“I got the signs earlier this week,” Heron said, adding she’d send out a reminder to her supporters about the rules.
For more information about election sign regulations, check the city’s website under the bylaw or election sections.