Stiffer fines considered for not removing signs from Town property

The clutter of garage/yard sale signs at the High Prairie Civic Square has some councillors concerned. File photo from August 2021.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

High Prairie town council is getting tough on citizens who do not remove their garage sale, yard sale or moving out signs within 72 hours.
Or are they?
Council agreed at its April 12 meeting to begin the legal procedure to increase fines to $150 from the current $100.
However, council admits they have never issued a ticket under the existing bylaw and do not plan to in the future.
Instead, CAO Rod Risling told council it is their practice to take a “passive approach” adding education is the priority.
The issue arose Aug. 10, 2021 when Councillor Judy Stenhouse was frustrated over seeing garage sale signs at the civic square, which she views as unsightly. It is a popular spot to post signs due to its high visibility. Stenhouse preferred people use the message board on the west side of the Sports Palace parking lot.
Councillor James Waikle disagreed with Stenhouse’s assessment.
“People are pretty good about taking them down,” he said.
While discussing the motion, Stenhouse suggested the fine money could be put toward a new “lit” sign to advertise such sales.
“Maybe this is an incentive to create this fund,” said Councillor Sacha Martens.
“I’d be open to that.”
However, two problems arose. The first is the current $100 fine is included in the traffic bylaw, which would have to be amended to include the new $150 fine. As well, it was when council heard no tickets have been issued to offenders meaning if the bylaw was not enforced, what was the point in changing it?
Nonetheless, council still directed administration to proceed with the change.
In his report, CAO Rod Risling wrote administration will act on complaints, or direction from council to take a more aggressive approach if it is what council wants.
Risling researched fines in other communities to see how High Prairie compares. Fort Saskatchewan has the lowest fine at $60, Athabasca and High Prairie at $100, St. Albert at $150, Brooks at $200, Whitecourt at $250, and High Level at $300.

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