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Oversized Lefebvre campaign signs removed from The Kingsway

A city bylaw, new to this municipal election cycle, limits the size of election signs to 1.5 square metres, which the Paul Lefebvre campaign signs on The Kingsway far exceeded

A large, double-sided campaign sign for mayoral candidate Paul Lefebvre has been removed from its location on The Kingsway per the city’s request. 

At issue is a bylaw introduced since the 2018 municipal election which limits election signs to 1.5 square metres in size, which the Lefebvre signs far exceeded.

“We took it down out of respect for their opinion, and that’s alright with me,” Lefebvre said of his team’s dealings with the city, adding with a chuckle, “I have other things to do.”

Lefebvre reasons that because the same double-sided mobile billboard setup was used by a candidate in this year’s provincial election, was “paid advertising on commercial space,” the sign should have been allowed.

The trailer sign’s previous user was Sudbury Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate Marc Despatie, whose advertisement was featured outside his campaign headquarters earlier this year. 

“I’m a bit confused by that, but I’m more focused on talking to people and reaching out to people and talking about issues out there in the community,” Lefebvre said. 

The mayoral candidate also clarified that the sign was installed through a contractor, whom Sudbury.com reached out to but have not received a response. 

Lefebvre said his team has been working with the city and has been OK’d to put up an electronic billboard to replace the temporary billboard they were asked to take down, with the same material and of approximately the same size. 

“I think that’s something we need to revise,” Lefebvre said of the rules, which he contends don’t make much sense. 

In correspondence with Sudbury.com earlier this week, a city spokesperson said they can’t speak to specifics about complaints or investigations, but that they were working with Lefebvre’s team “to achieve compliance.” 

To date, they’d received six complaints regarding the size of election signs, affecting multiple candidates’ campaigns. 

A city spokesperson noted the city’s sign rules were updated on the city website’s candidates’ resources page when the changes were made. 

“Information was also shared with all registered candidates through the online candidate portal, and the Bylaw Division has shared communication regarding the sign bylaw as well,” they said.

Since the size restriction is fairly new, they said the city is taking the opportunity to provide education and awareness to sign owners prior to enforcement. 

“Signage that is excessively outside of size restrictions, or poses a risk to public safety is being dealt with by working toward compliance with the sign owner.”

Sudbury.com last reported on election signs on Sept. 4, when some of Mayor Brian Bigger’s signs were reportedly vandalized. At the time, vandals were also accused of relocating Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc’s signs to places they were not allowed, such as taped to a fire hydrant.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.