Banners promoting all sorts of community groups and events have hung in the 300 block of Baker Street. Photo: Tyler Harper

YEAR IN REVIEW: Nelson council flip-flops on banners

Our No. 9 story of 2019

This year city council had several discussions about abortion and about LGTBQ rights disguised as discussions about the banners and flags that have for years been hung by community organizations across the 300 block of Baker Street and on flag poles at city hall.

Wishing to avoid putting up an anti-abortion banner like those that caused controversy in previous years, council decided in March to get a legal opinion on whether hanging such a banner contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Nelson Right to Life banner in 2018 read: “Right to Life Week. Speaker, Nov. 8, 7 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre. Walk for Life, Nov. 11, 2 p.m. at Lakeside Park.”

Pushing for the legal opinion, councillor Brittny Anderson said, “I do understand the freedom of speech argument and think there should be freedom of speech, but we also need to hold up the sexual and reproductive rights of women.”

In May, after receiving the legal opinion but not revealing what it said, council banned all banners and flags.

“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 just use it for our own events,” Mayor John Dooley said at the time.

Council decided groups who applied for the banner or flags prior to May 10 would have their requests honoured even if they were hung later in 2019.

Pride and transgender flags were raised in front of city hall for a week in early August, along with a Pride banner on Baker, accompanied by contradictory explanations from the city and Kootenay Pride about whether the flag-raisers applied before May 10 or whether council or staff simply made an ad-hoc exception outside of a council meeting.

On Sept. 3, city council revisited the issue again and created a new policy that banned banners (except for city events) and ruled that anyone wishing to raise a flag would have to apply to council (not to city staff) on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of organizations that have hung banners in the past include LVR grads, Dance Umbrella, Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, the Kalein Centre, Kootenay Pride, the Nelson Road Kings, and Selkirk College fine woodworking show, as well as Nelson Right to Life.

Related:

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

• Nelson council scraps banner, flag policy

• Pride community raises flags at city hall and banner on Baker

• Nelson council changes rules again on flags, banners



bill.metcalfe@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

Art as reconciliation: Ymir artist hosting BC Culture Days event

Damian John will lead a workshop titled Exploring Reconciliation Through Creativity

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

Brittny Anderson seeks Nelson-Creston NDP nomination

Anderson is currently a member of Nelson city council

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

Kaslo art exhibit invites you to play in the forest

Hide and seek on the Kaslo River Trail

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read