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Election signage being tampered with in Fernie area

A handful of campaigns have confirmed their signage is being vandalised
Election signage around Fernie during the 2022 local election. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Candidate signs are going missing around Fernie and the Ski Hill, with a handful of candidates reporting issues over the election period.

Candidate for Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) Area A Director, Lee-Ann Walker reported some of her signs were being thrown into the bushes from where they’d been set up in the Fernie Ski Hill area.

“We’ve recovered them and put them back up, but I know that a a lot of candidates have put a lot of time and energy to putting up campaign signs,” she said, saying it was disappointing that anyone would want to vandalize any candidates’ signage given their efforts to put themselves out there during an election cycle.

Tampering with or removing election signage is illegal. They represent an investment by the campaign that authorized them, and are permitted to be on display during an election period.

Candidate for mayor of Fernie, Nic Milligan, also reported some signs being “relocated, run over or stolen altogether” during the campaign, which wraps up on October 15.

“While I appreciate many of the signs damaged or rearranged are just random acts of vandalism, the people involved should understand it is a federal offence and taken seriously by law enforcement,” said Milligan.

“I ask everyone to be respectful and, in the true spirit of our Fernie community, leave the signs untouched as part of a positive, ongoing election campaign.”

With 16 candidates in Fernie, three in Area A, 11 in Sparwood and nine in Elkford, there are many signs around the valley – and apparently many opportunities for vandals to have a go.

Over the last two weeks, two other campaigns reached out to The Free Press to comment that signage had been targeted, while signage belonging to another five campaigns has been seen to be damaged.

Walker asked that anyone that sees a sign they don’t like just leave it be.

“Its for all the candidate’s benefit that the community realise these are not just ‘eyesores’ for them to tolerate for a month. They represent people trying to get their names out there, they’ve made an investment, they’re trying their best to communicate. Please respect the effort that has gone into this by all candidates.”

READ MORE: Area A candidate forum focuses mostly on development at Fernie ski hill
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