Cloverdale resident Greg MacRae is pushing back against the city’s amended sign bylaw.
MacRae planted what he’s calling a piece of art on his Clayton Heights lawn Oct. 21. His artwork reads “This is a political sign” and below in small writing reads, “This is art.”
“I heard about the proposed changes to the bylaw and wanted to push back against it,” he said. “It’s clearly targeted and will affect others too.”
MacRae said many other groups will be “unfairly affected” by the signage rule changes.
“How will this cover someone with a bumper sticker that’s facing the road?”
MacRae said the amendments amount to a gag order on citizens who dissent from what some on City Council are advocating at the municipal level.
MacRae noted political signs are part of the fabric of civic dialogue. He now hopes his sign sparks some conversations about civic politics across the city.
“Maybe some people don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “A lot of people don’t read or watch the news anymore, so I’m hoping this grabs their interest and they start asking questions like, ‘What’s going on here?’”
He said his “artwork” is a message within a protest.
“My lawn art conveys my concept of the feelings of others in Surrey,” he said. “Do actual words not make it art? I don’t think so. I think it’s art.”
The amendments were passed on a five-to-four vote Oct. 18, with Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum and Safe Surrey Coalition councillors Allison Patton, Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Doug Elford voting in favor and councillors Linda Annis, Jack Hundial, Steven Pettigrew and Brenda Locke voting against.
Locke said “it appears” the amendments are “meant to be specifically applied to signage around the Keep the RCMP group,” whose supporters have signs on their front lawns throughout the city.
“These are private property lawn signs,” she insisted.
City solicitor Philip Huynh said the intention is to “standardize” the rules for all political signs “whether there are elections, or referendums, or petitions, or plebiscites.”
—with files from Tom Zytaruk