City council has rescinded a policy that allowed non-profit groups to use this banner over Baker Street, as well as the flag poles at city hall. Photo: Tyler Harper

Nelson council scraps banner, flag policy

Non-profit groups will no longer be able to use the signage

Nelson residents may have a right to life, but they don’t have a right to the city’s banner.

City council has decided to rescind the Community Flag and Street Banner policy, which effectively ends years of outrage over controversial uses of the sign that hangs over Baker Street.

The policy had previously allowed local non-profit groups to use banner and flag poles at City Hall to promote community events.

But council sought legal opinion on the use of the banner after councillor Brittny Anderson asked during a meeting in March whether a right-to-life banner hung annually downtown violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Council already limited the policy to event promotion in 2017 after a pro-life group sparked outrage by using the banner to state “Respect human life from conception to a natural death.”

Mayor John Dooley said council’s solution was to rid themselves of the problem altogether.

“At the end of the day, it’s my opinion and the opinion of council that that’s municipal property and if we’re going to use it for anything, we should use it for our own events,” he said.

Groups who applied for the banner or flags prior to May 10 will have their requests honoured. But after that the signs will only be used to promote city initiatives such as Fire Prevention Week.

That means no Kootenay Pride flags at City Hall, no Metis flag to mark Louis Riel Day, no Nelson Road Kings banner.

Dooley said he didn’t want half measures that might leave the city open to its policy being challenged in the future.

“Really it’s just better to get away completely and divest ourselves of that particular initiative entirely,” he said. “It takes up a ton of resources. It’s expensive to get legal opinions, and there are some groups out there that the reality is they are really pushing the envelope as hard as they can and forced us into spending money for something we really shouldn’t be involved in the first place.”

Stephanie Myers, who works for Kootenay Pride and has helped other organizations such as Kootenay Co-op Radio and the Nelson Business Association put their banners up downtown, called the decision disappointing.

“They need to step up and take responsibility of their elected positions and say yes to some things and no to some things. Just carte blanche saying, ‘we’re not going to get involved anymore,’ seems like the easy way out.”

Related:

Nelson to get legal opinion on right-to-life street banner

Nelson council updates banner policy

Nelson banner policy flawed



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Green home show getting ready to energize Trail

The event goes Thursday, Nov. 14

J. L. Crowe runner captures bronze at provincials

A podium finish for J. L. Crowe runner Jaxon Kuchar at the 2019 BC Cross Country Championship

More and better childcare spaces in Columbia Basin

$1.4 million dispersed for Basin projects through the Trust’s Child Care Capital Grants

Railtown cannabis rezoning goes to public hearing

Property at 45 Government Rd. will have site-specific zoning rules

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

Cherry denies he was singling out visible minorities with his comments

B.C. teacher suspended for incessantly messaging student, writing friendship letter

Female teacher pursued Grade 12 student for friendship even after being rebuked

Disney Plus streaming service hits Canada with tech hurdles

Service costs $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year, in Canada

Trudeau’s opponents: One gives him an earful, another seeks common ground

PM meets with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe

Rona’s ‘truly Canadian’ ads are inaccurate, watchdog says

Ads Standards points out U.S.-based Lowe’s acquired Rona in 2016

Most Read