City council has rescinded a policy that allowed non-profit groups to use this banner over Baker Street, as well as the flag poles at city hall.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

The legal opinion has not been made public. Council voted unanimously in favour of rescinding the policy, with the exception of Anderson who was not present for the vote.

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nelson Leafs lose to Beaver Valley, will face Spokane in playoffs

Reid Wilson also finished the regular season third overall in scoring

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

West Kootenay SPCA hopes you’ll have a heart for Cupid

Cat who tangled with a bobcat seeking a permanent home

Leafs, Nitehawks to decide division title Saturday

The regular season ends in Nelson with both teams tied on points

Nelson Nordic Ski Club fundraising for new groomer

The club’s current machine is beginning to break down

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Most Read