WEST KELOWNA - Despite a recent make-over, West Kelowna's welcome signs already need some touchups.
“Unless there’s light on them, they are quite difficult to see,” West Kelowna parks manager Bob Kusch says.
The welcome signs were recently upgraded with darker stain added to the lettering but West Kelowna has heard complaints it makes the signs harder to read.
The city decided in the spring to upgrade the signs for about $20,000, but Kusch says there is the continuing cost of theft and vandalism related to them.
“We’ve had ongoing problems with people vandalizing the solar panels and the lights themselves,” Kusch said. “Someone took the whole unit from the site including the poles.”
And that’s just on the Kelowna side, Kusch adds. “At the other end we have people snipping the wires, stealing them for the copper.”
What makes them vulnerable, Kusch says, is that neither welcome sign is supplied with power, relying instead on solar energy for lighting.
“That’s the only way we can provide light to the signs,” he adds.
Even though the choice by referendum of West Kelowna for a community name was highly contentious at the time, Kusch says he can’t recall either signs falling victim to graffiti.
Despite that, Kusch says graffiti is a “huge problem” for West Kelowna. “We try to remove it as quickly as possible to discourage it,” he says.
Acts of vandalism or theft from public facilities will always generate a call to West Kelowna RCMP if it appears an offense has taken place.
“If it’s just regular graffiti, we usually just clean it up and move on,” Kusch added. “But if someone breaks into a park washroom and covers it with graffiti, you can bet we will call the police."
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