Have you ever wondered where your old garage sale signs have ended up?
They just may have been picked up by a Good Samaritan who’s been taking down signs around the community for 15 years.
Donna Goodenough said on a good day she picks up more than 20 signs.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, Goodenough arrived with a pile of paper, plastic and cardboard garage sale signs that she took down over the course of one week.
Goodenough said two signs in particular made her cringe.
“These two lovely signs were in our lovely town this weekend,” Goodenough said, holding up two large homemade cardboard signs. “This address is in Courtenay. Why should we have Courtenay’s garbage in Campbell River.
“This pile, 23 signs, is just one week’s worth,” Goodenough continued. “During the busy garage sale season I take down in excess of 55 every week.”
Goodenough said after routinely overflowing her recycling bin and garbage cans with other people’s signs, she finally had enough.
“If there’s a sign in my car from an area near where I’m going I’ll take the signs and flip it out the window onto their driveway,” Goodenough said.
“Lately I’ve been getting a little bit heavy-handed with it and not only do I give them their sign but I give them a couple more too.”
Goodenough said on one occasion, someone reported her to the RCMP who threatened to fine her $200 for littering.
“I of course denied it,” Goodenough said, to which Mayor Walter Jakeway replied that two RCMP members – Sgt. Troy Beauregard and Insp. Jeff Preston – were in attendance at the meeting which elicited a roar of laughter from the gallery.
Goodenough said instead of fessing up, she approached the city’s bylaw officer, Karl Read, but he didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear.
“Karl did tell me he’s the only one who has the authority to take these down and I said ‘well, sorry Karl,’” Goodenough said. “I know he’s busy and this is a real low priority for him but it’s important to me and my community. So I took matters into my own hands and I’m here now.”
Jakeway said Goodenough is likely not alone and that the owners of the poles people nail their signs to would probably like to see the signs taken down in a timely fashion.
“There’s another party that’s involved in signs and that’s the people who own the poles – Telus and BC Hydro,” Jakeway said. “Those are actually property of those two parties and they may be interested.”
Goodenough said if council does not have the time to crack down on removal of old garage sale signs, she’s more than willing to share her ideas.
“Even though I’m anti-sign, I could stand one more city-made sign that says ‘delinquent signs are subject to a fine’ or something like that,” Goodenough said. “Or you could do a reward system for kids that bring in signs.”
Coun. Andy Adams thanked Goodenough for her years of community service and suggested she get in touch with Clean Living, the community clean-up group led by Susan Black. Adams also suggested the city add a friendly reminder to take down garage sale signs in its City Currents ad which runs in both community newspapers.
Coun. Larry Samson asked city clerk Peter Wipper whether council could insert a restriction on garage sale signs into the city’s nuisance bylaw, which city staff are in the process of updating and finalizing.
“We joke about it and we had some fun,” Samson said of Goodenough’s presentation, “but it is a serious issue. We see it at our transit stops, the litter, we see it at our convenience stores and this is just one more thing.”
Wipper said city staff could look at adding a section on garage sale signs to the nuisance bylaw if it’s council’s wish.
“You can look forward to having something before you at the next council meeting specifically addressing the concerns of the delegation,” Wipper said.
Council meets again on Oct. 7.