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New bylaw looks to address flyer ‘nuisances’ in Saint John

By Brad Perry Apr 18, 2023 | 11:56 AM

Saint John residents fed up with flyers piling up at the end of their driveway may soon get some relief.

Council approved the first and second reading of a proposed flyer distribution bylaw on Monday night.

Michael Hugenholtz, commissioner of public works and transportation, said the move is meant to “address some of the nuisances from flyer distribution” that have been brought to the city’s attention.

Staff said flyers often pile up at residences that are unoccupied or abandoned and have been known to damage snowblowers when left in the driveway.

The proposed bylaw forbids flyers from being distributed to properties with a “No Flyers” sign.

It also makes it illegal to deliver flyers to a property if there are old flyers in the driveway.

“This would be in addition to the cancellation that the distributor typically does offer where you can opt-out of that flyer delivery directly with them,” said Hugenholtz.

In a staff report to council, Hugenholtz noted that opting out of flyer deliveries sometimes requires multiple phone calls and messages.

City staff said local governments do not have the ability to mandate an ‘opt-in’ system of flyer delivery.

Fines would range from $300 to $2,100 per offence, he said, adding the city may accept an administrative penalty of $150 in lieu of court prosecution.

Coun. David Hickey initially asked council to look into a flyer distribution bylaw back in 2019.

“I just think it’s a great step from a livability perspective,” said Hickey. “Hopefully it’ll clean up a couple of streets and clean up a couple of doorsteps.”

The city’s general counsel said flyer distributors “won’t be getting into trouble” if they deliver flyers to mailboxes, mail slots, or any other receptacle designated for that purpose.

“Right now, our biggest problem is they’re thrown everywhere. By targetting them to a mailbox, a slot or a receptacle like they do for some papers, I think that’s a good idea,” said Deputy Mayor John MacKenzie.

The bylaw does not apply to newspapers, election advertising material, community association newsletters, or any materials produced by government or their elected officials.

The proposed bylaw still has to come back to council for third reading.


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