On Monday evening, as Township council was conducting the last items of business for this term, volunteers from Dan Sheel’s campaign were in the area of 16 Avenue and 216 Street, repairing damage to his signs.
Sheel is seeking one of the eight councillor positions.
What they saw is indicative of what is happening to candidates’ signs all over. They watched as a heavy-set man got out of a beige van and took a sledge hammer to Sheel’s signs, and those of incumbent councillors Steve Ferguson and Bev Dornan.
Sheel’s volunteers approached the man, and got a good look at his face before the man got back in his vehicle and sped off.
They did not get a licence number, Sheel said, but are reporting the incident to police.
Sheel said that when he ran for office in 2008, he had three signs knocked down and a single complaint about placement of one sign. This year, he has had 50 vandalized or knocked down, and 14 complaints lodged against him.
“They are trying to get me off focus,” Sheel said. “I’m running a professional, clean campaign.”
Mayor Rick Green said he was distressed about the nature of the graffiti painted on signs. One sign was defaced with a swastika.
“It’s very insulting,” Green said, adding that some of his signs had been stolen.
He added that the front of his rural mailbox was ripped off, the address marker chipped off, and on Nov. 6 an election sign at the entrance to his property was set on fire.
Councillor Mel Kositsky said his signs are disappearing, too. “They seem to take the wire, wood and everything else,” he said.
Ferguson estimates 100 of his signs have been stolen.
Mayoral candidate Jack Froese said his sign crew is kept busy replacing and repairing his signs.
“We’re trying not to block traffic and other (candidates’) signs,” Froese said.
Bob Wilson, the Township’s deputy chief election officer, said that he has received about a dozen complaints about placement of signs blocking intersections.
Where signs impede drivers’ visibility, Township crews knock them down, leaving them on the ground with a yellow sticker explaining why the action has been taken. Candidates are notified.
Candidates whose signs have been placed in front of Langley’s cemeteries will find them removed for Friday’s Remembrance Day ceremonies, Wilson said.