Sackville Town Council is considering a bylaw that would require bundles of advertising flyers to be left in mailboxes, in a mail slot or on doorsteps instead of being tossed onto driveways or lawns.
The bylaw would prohibit delivery of flyers to homes where residents have posted clearly visible signs indicating they don’t want them.
Distributors would also be forbidden to leave flyers at a home where previously delivered ones have not been picked up for two consecutive weeks.
The bylaw would not apply to apartment buildings with six or more units.
During town council’s meeting last week, Assistant Clerk Becky Goodwin said the Sackville bylaw would be modelled on one in Riverview and would require residents who don’t want flyers to opt out by posting a sign.
She said the town also encourages residents to call the distributor to cancel flyer delivery.
Goodwin said town staff decided to follow the Riverview model because it would allow residents to decide whether they want to receive flyers.
“We do have several residents who do appreciate the flyer service,” she said.
“A resident would have three options: one, they could continue the service; two, they could call the distributor directly and cease the service…or they can display the [no-flyer] poster in their window.”
Goodwin said apartment buildings would be excluded because flyers are typically delivered inside them.
‘Test drive’ bylaw to see if it works
Deputy Mayor Andrew Black said time will tell if the bylaw will work, but he noted that at homes like his, a no-flyer window sign would not be visible from the street.
“I guess if it doesn’t work, then we can always bring it back and look at it again,” he said.
Mayor Mesheau suggested distributors will see window signs because they’ll be required to deposit the flyers in a mail receptacle or on a doorstep.
Councillor Bill Evans noted that most residents do not want advertising flyers, but he acknowledged that some people do.
“Like Deputy Mayor Black says, let’s test drive it and if it works, great, if it doesn’t work, we can fix it,” Evans said.
Councillor Bruce Phinney said that flyers are delivered inside his apartment building in a place where residents can pick them up.
“They must be well wanted because sometimes I’ve missed out,” he added. “I personally enjoy them.”
Phinney also said he visited Riverview recently where Bylaw Officer Brian Bell said the new rules are working well.
“He said sometimes, of course, there’s people who are still receiving [flyers] but what’s happened actually is it may be a new deliverer who has not been informed,” Phinney added.
He said Riverview has a good working relationship with Brunswick News, the Irving-owned company that distributes the flyers and he suggested Sackville’s bylaw officer make that connection too.
Deputy Mayor Black said he’s tried to cancel flyer delivery repeatedly without any success and he knows others who haven’t had much luck either.
He suggested the town post information about who residents can call to cancel the flyers.
Meantime, Sackville Town Council is expected to give the first of three readings to the new flyer bylaw at its meeting on November 8th.
i am delighted that the Town Council has decided to act on this file. I had sent an email to the Mayor and all Councillors in early July requesting a look at the Moncton bylaw as a model for allowing opt-in or opt-out on flyers. I did receive immediate responses from three councilors and willingness to bring the issue to Council for study. Not having heard anything since, I was preparing to ask if any progress had been made on the study. And here it is! This is great news and I shall be happy to opt out while others who enjoy flyers can opt in. Well done, Councillors.