Temporary event signs are not always so temporary

I saw the sign (even though I didn’t want to) and it opened up my eyes, I saw the sign.

I have very few pet peeves, but something that really irks me is when people leave temporary signs up. It doesn’t bother me if people hang up poster boards directing people to a garage sale or tie balloons at the end of their street when they are having a party, but it drives me crazy when they don’t collect them after the event is over. I often see rotting posters weeks after a yard sale drooping from a stop sign and even worse, balloons half-deflated blowing in the wind.

According to the Environmental Nature Centre, balloons kill countless animals and cause dangerous power outages. They can travel thousands of miles and pollute the most remote and pristine places. Balloons return to the land and sea where they can be mistaken for food and eaten by animals. Whether you release balloons on purpose or by accident, it is littering and could cause harm. If swallowed, balloons can block an animal’s gut and cause it to starve, if they don’t choke on it first.

The Town of Smithers allows temporary community event signs in all zones with a few regulations including size limitations and they can only be up for a total of 30 days and must be taken down after the event is over. There are even fines associated with those who break the law. It would be easy to find the culprit because there would either be an arrow pointing to the law-breaker’s house or a phone number for the suspect on the piece of evidence. Although, I highly doubt anyone locally has ever been given a fine for what seems like an innocent crime.

But one city in Ontario decided to crack down on illegal signs. In one year, city staff removed more than 26,000 signs from posts, walls and other public spaces. The city laid 283 charges resulting in total fines of $62,275.

On the other side of the border, in a city in Washington, a man made posters of his missing dog a couple of years ago and placed them on utility poles around the city. When the police called shortly after he was hoping they had found his dog but instead he was told his signs were illegal and he could go to a jail one day per sign he hung up.

I don’t think the Town of Smithers staff has the time to clean up after everyone and the Smithers RCMP have more pressing matters to attend to but I know residents around the Bulkley Valley take pride in what a beautiful area we live in.

Let’s keep it that way.

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