Halifax council takes first step in passing unwanted flyer bylaw

Halifax regional council voted in favour of a new bylaw to deal with unwanted flyer delivery on Tuesday, but the bylaw will need a second reading before the new rules come into effect.

The bylaw would allow people to opt out of flyer delivery and it would also allow fines to be levied if instructions such as a “no flyers” sign or sticker are not followed.

Also, flyers wouldn’t be able to be dropped off at the end of a driveway. The fines could be between $25 and $250 per complaint.

“I like it because it’s not heavy handed, it gives some teeth,” said Coun. Lisa Blackburn, one of the 14 councillors who voted to endorse the rule change.

“This is not definitely not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is indeed a good place to start.”

‘Driveway spam’

Coun. Matt Whitman has been a vocal proponent of having opt-in flyer delivery and was the one councillor who voted against the opt-out idea.

Whitman been speaking out against flyer delivery since at least 2015, sharing pictures of water-logged bundled flyers he calls “driveway spam” on his Twitter account.

Coun. Matt Whitman has long supported an opt-in only flyer delivery policy. (Matt Whitman/Twitter)

“Anything short of an opt-in only policy is going to bring about no change,” Whitman said.

“And we’ve received correspondence from Montreal [by] an organization that monitors this sort of thing and [they say] these fines are just considered a cost of doing business.”

Coun. David Hendsbee said he doesn’t mind flyers. He said he hoped council would be more proactive in working with the flyer industry to have more newspaper boxes installed near community mailboxes where people could pick up flyers.

“We’ve been doing this now for two years down on the Causeway Road in Seaforth. We’ve had a newspaper box right beside the mailbox site — it works perfectly,” Hendsbee said.

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