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OUR VIEW: Sign pollution will end soon

Clusters of election signs are a fact of life, unsightly as they are

One of the first signs of election season is the sprouting of candidate signs all over the landscape.

On the agriculturally rich Saanich Peninsula, the crop of signage has been a bumper one, with posters of all colours and sizes hammered into the ground from Tanner Ridge to Swartz Bay.

As we head into the final days of the 2011 municipal election campaign, the signage is at its ripest point, ready to be picked.

Candidates have a relatively limited number of ways to get their message out in a broad manner. Other than advertising in print or online publications, or speaking at an all-candidates’ meeting, they usually involve either putting out as many lawn signs as possible, or distributing leaflets to mailboxes in their respective municipalities.

The accumulation of signs in high-traffic areas, such as the corner of the Pat Bay Highway and Beacon Avenue, and the highway and Mount Newton X Road, is almost to the point of being a hazard to drivers.

On the one hand, the larger signs appear almost like an extension of the billboard section of the Pat Bay Highway and thus, don’t seem so out of place. On the other, the small signs often appear more as a blight on the landscape given their proliferation.

Now, we’re all for freedom of speech and of expression, but in this way election time offers up the most extreme example of democracy run amok.

We have to question just how effective peppering a block with signs is, in terms of securing name recognition for a candidate. But hey, we’re not experts in human psychology.

We appreciate the need to get one’s name out there in an effort to get elected, but we also appreciate when the elections are over and the signs come down.