October 31, 2014 - 7:29 PM
VERNON - When he heard his city councillors were openly breaking one of their own bylaws, Vernon resident Wade Cantalope decided to have some fun.
You may have noticed a slightly unusual political sign along the roadways: Vote Elephant Storage Centre. Cantalope, who owns the storage company, isn’t actually running in the election. His campaign is more about raising awareness after Vernon council directed staff not to enforce a bylaw stating political signage can’t go on city rights-of-way.
“It’s saying they’re above the law,” Cantalope says.
Angry with the rule-breaking mentality of Vernon city council, he mixed his Elephant Storage signs in with the others. He hopes the gentle mockery will start a conversation.
“The whole thing is laughable, that’s why I did it,” Cantalope says. “They (council) are overriding a bylaw to suit themselves. They shouldn’t even be entertaining that concept.”
One of the arguments made for allowing political signage on city roadways is the need to let the community know who is running, but Cantalope isn’t buying that.
“They say it’s about getting voters out, but we’ve always had low voter turnout. The signs are not getting people out,” Cantalope says.
Vernon mayor Rob Sawatzy voted against the majority of council and believes the bylaw should be followed, but he recently spoke up on the matter, saying its ‘diverting attention’ from the good work this council has done over its three-year term. Cantalope on the other hand, insists this is an election issue.
“It’s an issue of the mentality at city hall and how councillors are going to handle themselves,” he says. “I’d like to have someone in office that will listen to the people and not twist things to their own liking.”
Since the controversy, candidates like Mary-Jo O’Keefe have already started taking signs down and moving them on to private property.
“It definitely was distracting people from the core issues of the campaign,” she says, adding it was better to just get it off the table.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014