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Flyer foes fear not, new by-law getting closer

Council approves first reading of by-law to cut down on flyer litter

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Haligonians will be able to print off or pick up one of these signs to hang somewhere it can be seen if they don't want flyers. - HRM
  • HRM
  • Haligonians will be able to print off or pick up one of these signs to hang somewhere it can be seen if they don't want flyers.

Gone are the days of the Ecology Action Centre's No Flyers Please stickers giving distributors enough guilt to keep their half-price blenders and donair-pizza-quiche flyers out of your mailbox or the end of your driveway. In an attempt to curb "nuisance litter" and ensure those who have opted out don't get unwanted flyers, Halifax Regional Council gave first reading of proposed by-law F400 setting the rules around distribution.

Councillor Lisa Blackburn brought the motion forward, saying "I like it because it's not heavy-handed" but "it gives some teeth" and puts a framework around the existing industry standards. There's a charter right for freedom of expression that prevents Halifax from banning flyers outright, so this is an attempt to hold flyer distributors (AKA The Chronicle Herald) and their subcontractors accountable. Councillor Matt Whitman didn't support the by-law as written, and deputy mayor Tony Mancini agreed with him, asking why not enforce the rules that already exist now.

The by-law, as most are, would be enforced on a complaints-driven basis. Councillor Lorelei Nicoll asked staff make sure the teenage paper deliverer wasn't getting the $25 individual fine when working for a contracting company, and some councillors argued that the $250 fine for companies was just a drop in the bucket and wont be effective, citing information from Montreal group Antipublisac.

Residents who don't want flyers will get to put up a poster (larger than a rinky-dink sticker, at councillor Hendsbee's request) to let distributors know they don't want any flyers, giving them license to file a complaint if they get any.

The by-law will return to council for a second reading before taking effect. And if, like Hendsbee, you appreciate keeping up with the deals of the week, you can rest assured you'll continue to get your hot deals to your front door (or halfway there, at least). —CM

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