COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) — COVID-19 safety signs have been found ripped up, broken, and tossed into lakes around Coquitlam, and the mayor has had enough with people who apparently can’t grasp the gravity of the pandemic.
“You’re not proving anything, other than the fact you don’t understand epidemiology,” says Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart. “Destroying signage is of no use to anybody, other than to make a symbolic statement and to risk going to jail for vandalism.”
It’s happened in several parks around the city, with posts on social media suggesting vandals have hit the same spot at least six times.
“It’s really frustrating for our community, and I know other communities face similar issues because we’re all trying our best to make sure residents have guidance,” Stewart tells NEWS 1130.
The signs remind people to keep a safe physical distance from others or tell them which way to walk on paths. They have become common at parks and hiking trails during the pandemic across the Lower Mainland.
“There are some who resist and some who just can’t grasp it. For those people, I feel sad, but we’ll also enforce the law,” he says. “The people that we catch doing this will be prosecuted.”
Stewart says, for the most part, people understand and support the signs in places like Como Lake. He wants to still see people get out and safely get some exercise.
The city will continue to replace the signs and ensure safety protocols are followed.
There are “park hosts” in Coquitlam who are around to make sure people understand the measures, but Stewart says they’ll also be keeping an eye out for anyone destroying public property.
-with files from Tarnjit Parmar