Property owner harassed by municipality over pro-life Christian Heritage Party sign
BEAMSVILLE, Ontario, March 20, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A property owner in the small Niagara region town of Beamsville says he is facing pressure by the municipality to remove a sign showing an unborn child and a biblical verse that he agreed to display on his property.
Christian Heritage Party Niagara West approached landowner Bruce Campbell asking if the political party could rent a vacant Billboard on his property in town. After a discussion with CHP board member, Marcy Schulenberg, Mr Campbell agreed, saying the sentiments expressed on the CHP election sign reflected his own.
Coreen Wierenga of the CHP Niagara West Glanbrook riding association told LifeSiteNews that the sign, on Beamsville’s Ontario Street, was set up on Saturday, March 2.
"By Tuesday morning there was an order issued by the by-law officer of the Town of Lincoln stating that the sign did not comply with by-law 50-60, the sign permit by-law," Mrs Wierenga said.
The local paper, Niagara This Week, reported that one complaint was received by the municipality, which prompted the town's by-law officer to tell the paper that the billboard violates specifications for signs and the issue would be addressed.
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“We have been in the process of dealing with it since Monday (March 4). The legal procedure set out in the town’s bylaw for the removal of that sign must be complied with to deal with this matter,” reads an email sent by the town to the complainant, according to the newspaper.
Mr Campbell challenged the town, arguing that election signs were exempt from the by-law cited in the removal order.
"Bruce contacted his lawyer and the town contacted their lawyer and both agreed that the CHP sign fit the description of an election sign," Mrs Wierenga said.
"The town then rescinded the first order and re-issued another order (citing a different by-law) and we have until March 20th to comply. Bruce contacted his lawyer again, and said our sign falls under Federal Election Sign laws on private property and therefore will not be removed."
An update from Mrs Wierenga this morning said that the new removal order cites a by-law which states that billboards are only permitted if the billboard is on the premises of the business or office that is being advertized.
"Mr Campbell is now setting up a CHP Office on the premises where people can obtain information. We have until Friday to get it set up," Mrs Wierenga said.
"The landowner feels the town is doing all they can to shut us down," she concluded.
Requests to the Town of Lincoln for clarification and comment on the situation were not returned.
Town of Lincoln Mayor Bill Hodgson
4800 S Service Rd
Canada, LOR 1B1
Phone: (905) 562-4464
Fax: (905) 563-6566
Email: [email protected]
Contact info for the Town of Lincoln councillors is available on the municipality's website here.