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New flag policy unfurled as community groups’ needs are met

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
October 24th, 2018

It’s all over but the waving for the city’s newly adopted flag policy.

The official stamp has been given to the policy that will govern flag usage and how community flags and banners are treated on city property.

Community groups that are requesting to have their flags fly at City Hall will now have to follow the same process as community groups requesting their banners be hung at designated locations within the city as identified in the Community Flag and Street Banner Policy — after city council passed the amended bylaw recently.

The city currently has flagpoles in front of City Hall where the municipal, provincial and federal flags are flown.

“The new policy ensures that all flags at this city-operated location are flown and displayed in a consistent manner and will provide flag protocol guidelines,” read a city staff report to council.

In September council requested that the proposed flag policy include the option to fly community flags. However, it was determined that in order to best address the proposed policy the existing Street Banner Policy would be amended to consider community flag requests.

City corporate officer Frances Long said the proposed policy was crafted in a similar fashion to most other B.C. communities where they had a separate pole for flying community flags.

Nelson did not have a separate pole and would historically add a community flag underneath the municipal one during the week of the event.

It will be up to council to consider allocating funds for constructing a separate community pole in the next budget, said Long.

“The standard in the province is not to have community flags fly on the municipal flag poles,” said Long.

City manager Kevin Cormack said the city would still approve other flags flying on the poles in front of City Hall on a case-by-case perspective.

Specific elements of the flag policy were taken from the federal government’s National Flag Etiquette and the province of British Columbia’s flag protocol from the Office of Protocol.

The public will have access to the policies on the city website, while an update will be provided on the city website informing community groups of the new process.

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