Vancouver has redrafted its Olympic bylaws to counter fears that enforcement officers will be kicking down doors to stifle political expression during the 2010 Games.
The revision, which impacts 10 existing city bylaws, allows the city to remove illegal commercial signs immediately — regardless of whether the offender is a Games sponsor.
The bylaw isn’t targeted at political activists. It instead aims to discourage companies who would profit from the Games by slapping up billboards or building wraps, which the city would be unable to remove until after a 30-day notice period.
“Someone could make a lot of money for advertising for five days during the Olympics because there is going to be such a big audience,” said Coun. Geoff Meggs.
“We want to be sure that they know that they will not profit from their illegal activity, that we have the ability if we need to, to take it down.”
Illegal marketing, he added, undermines sponsors who subsidize the Games and reduce the burden on taxpayers.
All other illegal signs (one put up without a permit and visible from the street), including political or anti-Games signage, will be subject to the city’s original sign bylaw and would require one-month notice before it is removed.
The bylaw changes, with the exception of increasing the maximum fine to $10,000 under the fire bylaw, are temporary and limited geographically to areas surrounding venues and Olympic routes.