A Burnaby political party is calling for a truce with its opponents to do away with lawn signs.
Burnaby First Coalition put out the call last week, saying “If there is a consensus among all candidates, BFC will be the first to forego lawn signs this election.”
But their rivals have been reluctant to get onboard, with one council candidate accusing BFC of “just fishing for an issue.”
“I give this no credence,” said incumbent Nick Volkow. “There are far bigger fish to fry and bigger issues.”
The Burnaby Citizens Association councillor of more than 20 years said he has never received complaints about lawn signs on private property in Burnaby. He did, however, say he used to receive complaints about signs on public land – a practice now outlawed by a local bylaw.
“I don’t think it’s an honest position,” Volkow said of BFC’s call for an end to the use of lawn signs.
BFC council candidate Charter Lau said his party had heard from rival candidates who said they too would commit to not using the signs once everyone was onboard. He wouldn’t say who made the commitment.
He said the position comes from an honest desire to do the right thing.
“It’s a lot of waste there and it’s not good for the environment,” he said.
He said his party has already begun to “walk the walk” by re-using many of its campaign signs from 2014. Rather than commission signs specific to this election, he said BFC had generic party-branded signs made that can be customized with the names of candidates each election.
Green Party candidate Rick McGowan said he agrees the plastic signs aren’t great for the environment but “they’re kind of necessary.”
He said he worried voter turnout would be even lower without visible signage reminding people of an upcoming vote.
Volkow, however, dismissed this argument as well.
“[Turnout] can’t get any lower than it already is,” he said. Less than 26 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot in Burnaby in 2014.
Asked whether he thought more could be done to increase voter turnout, Volkow said “no, I don’t.”
“If you can’t get off your butt and walk down the street and put an X on a piece of paper, what can I tell you?”
“We should have done it a long time ago,” he said. “We have spent a lot of money on signs to this point.”
He said supporters are coming to his campaign officer every day to pick up signs.
He said the general idea for a truce on lawn signs “could be good.”