Having their community signs tossed unceremoniously into a roadside ditch has Pritchard residents fuming mad at the crews charged with four-laning the Trans-Canada Highway.
“It’s terrible,” said Jean-Marie Bernardet. “Everybody is upset. Everybody.”
But a spokesman for the company says the community was notified six weeks ago that the fence supporting most of the signs would be taken down.
Gunnar Slack, a project superintendent for numbered company 6724 B.C. Limited — a subsidiary of Brentwood Construction, said notices were delivered by mail before work began.
“Everybody in the community here did receive a flyer or pamphlet saying that construction would begin and that we would be in the area,” Slack said Thursday.
“There was nothing malicious done.”
The removal of the fence at Martin Prairie Road and the Trans-Canada still caught residents by surprise. Pritchard Station Store employee Linda Goldney said the signs and fence were there Tuesday morning but gone that night.
She said the spot is a popular place to advertise local businesses and services. People have done so for years.
The way the signs were taken down and discarded is deplorable, said Bernardet. Some were broken and left face down in the dirt.
“Some of the signs are pretty expensive,” he said.
He believes the signs should have been stacked and the owners contacted and asked to come and get them. Bernardet said a phone number is posted on every sign.
“They should have said, ‘Remove your sign because we are going to take the fence down,’” he said.
Ricky Hedrich, a real estate broker for Riley & Associates in Chase, said her sign was taken down and it wasn’t even on the fence. She mounted it on a post of its own.
Hedrich was driving by when she saw it in a roadside ditch. She stopped, picked the sign up and rested it again the store until she could come back and get it.
At the very least, Hedrich would have appreciated a phone call so she could have taken it down herself, she said.
“It could have been handled better,” said Hedrich.
Slack said the intention all along was to collect the signs, take them to a nearby work yard, and then phone the owners. Some of those calls have been made, but some of the numbers are out of service. Messages were left at others.
Bernardet hopes the rest of the highway project won’t be handled the same way.
“There’s something wrong there,” he said.