Halifax Regional Council passes first reading of the ‘no-flyer’ bylaw

Halifax Regional Municipality is looking at regulating flyer delivery in the municipality. Global News File

Halifax is one step closer to a new bylaw that would restrict the distribution of flyers if citizens opt out of the service.

It’s a topic that has appeared routinely in front of Halifax Regional Council, and on Tuesday, councillors voted to pass the first reading of a newly proposed bylaw.

For years, the municipality has heard complaints from residents about flyer packages being left in driveways instead of doorsteps.

This has caused them to become a nuisance and a waste of resources, with the municipality saying the primary distributors of door-to-door flyers are Saltwire Network and The Chronicle Herald.

The new bylaw was introduced by Lisa Blackburn, councillor for Middle/Upper Sackville-Beaver Bank-Lucasville, and is an attempt to address those issues.

“Up until now it’s been an easy ride, and the complaints have been coming in fast and furious and I think now is the time to put some parameters around that,” said Blackburn.

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But not everyone was happy with the proposed model.

Matt Whitman, councillor for Hammonds Plains-St. Margarets, said he would prefer a model where Haligonians opted in to receive flyers.

Richard Zurawski, councillor for Timberlea-Beechville-Clayton Park-Wedgewood, said he didn’t think the bylaw would work and believes that a model that adopted “extended producer responsibility” would be more effective.

As part of the bylaw, stickers emblazoned with “NO FLYERS” would be created and distributed to residents free of charge.

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If those stickers are displayed at a property, flyer distributors would be prohibited from delivering their materials.

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Citizens are able to craft their own sign while municipal staff said a PDF of the sign would be made available on the Halifax Regional Municipality’s website so that Haligonians could print off the sign at home.

Non-compliance would result in a penalty of $250 for a company and a $25 fine for an individual contractor.

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Enforcement of the complaint would be complaint-driven and staff confirmed that no new bylaw enforcement officers would be hired.

Halifax’s legal staff have previously determined that an outright ban on flyer delivery would be “deemed an infringement on the distributors’ freedom of expression.”

Regional council will consider a second reading of the bylaw at a future meeting.

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