The District of Sechelt will be reviewing its sign confiscation practices after at least two business owners have discovered their missing signs in the District’s hands.
Paul Meriam of Paul’s Chimney reported a number of signs stolen, sent out a kick to the thief in Coast Reporter (kisses/kicks feature), and even filed a police report about the disappearing signs in November, which was published by Coast Reporter in a subsequent weekly police report.
Then in December he got word the missing signs had been confiscated by the bylaw officer and were sitting at the District of Sechelt.
“I couldn’t believe it. Why didn’t they just call me? My number is on the sign. All they had to do was call me,” Meriam said, noting the signs had been placed on the lawns of Sechelt homeowners who had their chimneys serviced.
The bylaw officer is allowed to take signs in contravention of the sign bylaw, and although they are allowed on private property for a time, some of the signs in question may have been on road right-of-ways.
“Now I’ve been told I’m allowed to have my signs on private property for 14 days,” Meriam said.
Tour boat operator Michelle Burns of Mermaid Boat Tours said she had a number of signs confiscated unbeknownst to her two seasons ago.
“They never told me they took them. I found out because I know someone who works at the District,” Burns said, adding her phone number is also clearly visible on the signs.
The two by three foot signs directing visitors to her business along the highway were taken down repeatedly within Sechelt and now she is careful to erect signs only outside the District.
Sechelt Mayor John Henderson said he’s looking into the issue of sign confiscation.
“Apparently the signs that have been removed were from road right-of-ways. They were not on private property, so that’s been part of the issue,” Henderson said. “Having said that, we’re going to look into how we can inform people that we have their signs. If they’re breaching the rules, then the signs will be removed, but we can certainly provide perhaps a better reference on how to retrieve them.”