If you are driving or walking around Kelowna this weekend, you might see some election signs that will make you do a double take.
And, for the person putting them up, that is exactly the point.
Under the pseudonym ‘Garth’, the man responsible says it is “in the hopes that they would get people’s attention so that they start looking at the signage…and also maybe add some fun to it.”
Garth told Capital News that he is disappointed with how few people are paying attention to the upcoming municipal election, which is slated for Oct. 15. He said that election signs, displaying all of the candidates names, at least play an initial role in garnering the public’s interest.
“People are walking right by on the street, and not even looking up. And people driving by don’t seem to notice them either….but if there was a reason to look at them, I think they might.”
As of Sept. 23, Garth had seven faux election signs made up, with names such as Patrick Starr (of SpongeBob SquarePants) and Peter Parker (of Spiderman). He said he had the materials to make 10 more.
“I just want to add a little more lightness to the whole thing, get people more interested in the election, without promoting any particular candidate.”
He said he checked the regulations for local signage previously - making sure that they would not be too large, and determining where they can be placed.
He added that he spoke to an undetermined city councillor who liked the idea, and that it could be considered advertising signage instead of election. However, there may still be some conflict with city staff and bylaw.
According to the city’s Chief Election Officer, Laura Bentley, Kelowna’s election signs bylaw regulates size, location and timing for placement of signs promoting candidates, or promotion of election events. The content of signs is governed by Elections BC.
“To be considered a sign under the election sign bylaw, if it’s advertising an individual, that individual needs to be a declared a candidate,” she said.
Depending on what the issue is, if signs are in front of parks, bylaw services or city staff can remove non-conforming signs and contact the person whose sign it is.
“If it’s a sign that doesn’t fall under the election sign bylaw…again it would be removed and we may or may not know who to contact, but it might be a sign that requires a sign permit for example,” added Bentley.
In that case, the sign would have to meet the condition of the city’s regular sign bylaw in order to be granted a permit.
Bentley said there can be repercussions for anyone putting up election signs contrary to the bylaw.
“We typically try to give a warning, give some information and build awareness before issuing penalties,” she said.
Election sign bylaw infractions can be $100.