Within Ponoka County there are 11 road signs missing, an unusually high number taking into account the number of motor vehicle accidents that might be responsible for their disappearance.
“Typically I’d say we have two or three a year (missing),” said county CAO Charlie Cutforth.
The county’s policy says missing signs are to be replaced once per year and councillors are in the processes for reviewing it, as some signs that have not been replaced in quite a while.
The two most problematic areas in terms of theft of and vandalism against signs are Hoar Road and Climax Road. Traffic and STOP signs also sometimes go missing and Cutforth says there have been two occasions when it became a police matter. Two young adults, one near Ponoka and the other near Rimbey, were each found with a stash of signs.
“It used to be we could just go set the signs out ourselves,” said Cutforth. Replacing signs was approximately $200 each.
Now traffic controls and installation costs have pushed that figure up to $500 and $600 to replace a sign.
“It’s almost become a monetary issue,” said Cutforth.
While theft and vandalism are almost regular occurrences, Cutforth says it is not a big enough problem for police to always be involved.
When they are damaged in accidents, the issue is usually reported immediately, says Cutforth. “Then we just go out and fix them, I have no problem with that.”