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Rothesay considers flyer distribution bylaw

By Brad Perry Jun 15, 2023 | 6:26 AM

Rothesay is looking at a new bylaw to regulate advertising flyer distribution in the town.

Council unanimously passed first reading of the proposed bylaw during Monday night’s meeting.

It resembles a similar bylaw approved by councillors in Saint John earlier this year.

Residents would be able to opt-out of flyer distribution by placing a “No Flyers” sign on their property.

In addition, flyers could no longer be tossed at the end of a driveway. Distributors would have to place them in a mailbox or on a doorstep.

Town manager John Jarvie had a word of caution for councillors as they considered the proposed bylaw.

“You’re asking for the flyers to be either in a mailbox or on the front step, which is significantly different from the way things are done now,” said Jarvie. “In my view, that could easily mean that there are no more flyers.”

Brunswick News Inc. currently distributes flyers throughout the region on behalf of retailers.

Coun. Don Shea questioned why the town did not consider an opt-in model rather than the opt-out model being proposed.

“We are of the view that the authority to ban flyers altogether would probably not pass the legal test. That’s the advice that we have,” Jarvie responded.

When developing its bylaw, staff in Saint John said local governments do not have the ability to mandate an opt-in system of flyer delivery.

Jarvie pointed out that residents can stop flyer delivery currently simply by contacting the distributor. But Coun. Tiffany Mackay French noted it is not always that easy.

“I phoned them several months ago and I’m still getting flyers,” said Mackay French. “It’s annoying.”

The bylaw also bans flyers from being placed at a residential property where previously delivered flyers have not been collected for two consecutive weeks.

Fines would range from $150 to $2,100 per offence, according to the proposed bylaw. The fine would be multiplied depending on how many days the offence continues.

Officials noted the bylaw would not apply to community association newsletters or newspapers, information circulars provided by government, or an apartment building containing six or more units.

In addition to approving the first reading of the bylaw, the town will send a copy of it to Brunswick News for comments.


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