While all newspaper boxes on the City of Victoria streets are illegal under the current bylaw, the boxes are here to stay – at least for now.
A motion put forward by Coun. Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Mayor Lisa Helps at the beginning of August asked city staff to ask companies to remove newspaper boxes from city property or have the city remove them.
During Thursday’s (Sept. 4) committee meeting, Thornton-Joe postponed her motion indefinitely in response to a letter from the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA). According to Thornton-Joe, the DVBA has been in discussions with news organizations and developed its own solution to deal with abandoned boxes or those in disrepair.
Under the city’s current bylaw all paper boxes on city streets are illegal but bylaw services does not enforce it.
Coun. Ben Isitt put forward a motion asking staff to report back on the resources it would take to develop regulations to permit newspaper boxes downtown, favouring not-for-profit publications.
Coun. Geoff Young did not support the motion, saying he didn’t see a need to add “one more demand” on staff to dig into a resolved issue. Helps agreed with Young “wholeheartedly.”
Isitt’s motion was defeated, with opposition from Helps and councillors Young, Thornton-Joe, Sarah Potts and Marianne Alto.