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Missing 'U' leads to disappearing 'S' in sign

New welcome sign letters in Squamish harder to remove



The welcome sign at the south end of Squamish has been looking a little like a super-sized Scrabble board recently.

Following the disappearance of some of the raised letters fastened to the sign using double-sided tape all the letters making up the word Squamish were replaced with a more permanent set of letters on the large sign beside Highway 99.

Through the election campaign the long absence of the U from the word Squamish caused a group of Facebook users on a page called Squamish Speaks to discuss the chronic case of the disappearing letters.

Talk and joking turned to action when sign maker Fred Kaelble volunteered to make a U if someone provided him the letter dimensions.

Auli Parviainen, the runner up in the race to be Squamish's mayor, went to the sign and got the information Kaelble needed. Kaelble determined the font, carved up the new U and Jeff Cooke, the councillor candidate who placed seventh in the election, collected the U and installed it on Nov. 26.

The next day, the District of Squamish (DOS) reported the original U was recovered so the citizen-installed U was replaced with the original.

Bob Smith, the DOS operations manager, said the DOS spent $250 each time a letter had to be replaced so a new more theft resistant set of letters was sought.

On the morning of Nov. 30, the S at the end of the town name went missing.

Then on Tuesday (Dec. 6) the U went missing again. Smith confirmed that all the raised 3-D letters spelling the word Squamish were replaced with the new "glued and screwed" letters that same day.

Smith said the DOS was criticized for taking a long time to replace the missing letters, but he noted that municipal workers don't inspect the sign daily so they rely on resident reports.

"We are really looking for the public to report that," he said.

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