Tim Collins/News staff
When Dee Lees and her partner Ed Gravonic saw that some work was being done on the property adjacent to their home on Central Saanich Road, they were initially unconcerned.
The company, Coast Outdoor Advertising, had, after all, come to their door at the end of June and advised them that they would be putting up a sign on the adjacent property, so when the work started in the first week of July, the couple was prepared.
It wasn’t until they noticed that there were wires and electrical insulators draped into their garden that concern for the neighbourhood children and pets caused them to approach the man doing the work to inquire about whether the wires were energized.
“At first the contractor, a fellow named Doug Webb, said the wires wern’t live. It turns out he’s the father of the company’s manager. When we pointed out that they (the wires) were coming from a sign that was still lit, he changed his story and said they weren’t a hazard,” said Lees.
The couple contacted the BC Safety Authority who sent out an inspector to view the worksite.
“When BC Safety arrived, they were great. They shut down the power and the wires were tied up above ground level and then tagged the line with a notice that it not be turned back on without authorization,” said Lees.
According to Lees, the solution was short-lived as the contractor returned and re-energized the lines, this time draping them across the trees in the yard.
Other activities were almost equally concerning.
“At one point he was cutting a metal post with a chop saw of some kind and sparks were flying everywhere. He wasn’t wearing any protective equipment and when we asked him to stop and pointed out that sparks were landing in our garden and coming into contact with his gasoline jerrycan, he just said that nothing had caught fire yet.”
Pete Daniels, Field Services Leader for the BC Safety Authority is aware of the file and said he can’t comment on the specific case, but said that, unfortunately, the case is far from unique.
“Maybe it’s part of our current social model where people want to make a buck and not be told what to do. But anyone doing this kind of work needs to be certified and registered with BC Safety and when things like this happen, it is possible for us to take action.”
Daniels went on to state that “sign guys and bill-board guys” are among the worst offenders in the region.
“I could tell you stories that would curl your hair,” said Daniels.
Peninsula News reached out to Darrin Webb, the manager of Coast Outdoor Advertising but received no response.
Lees, however, said that Webb had come to their home a few days earlier to apologize for the situation and offer assurances that the situation wouldn’t re-occur.
“He seemed sincere, but then they seemed sincere when they first told us about the job and assured us there would be no problems,” said Lees.