Vandalism of the traffic bollards on Whippoorwill Drive in Elmira has Woolwich Township facing the prospect of time and money replacing the traffic-calming devices.
Thirty-six signs and the bolts that fasten them to the asphalt were removed in two separate instances of vandalism and theft, the township reports.
Sometime during the weekend of July 21, 12 of the signs were removed from the road and vandalized, according to Carter Maguire, manager of operations for the township. While the majority of the signs were recovered some of them had to be replaced with existing township inventory.
According to Waterloo Regional Police, the second instance occurred sometime between midnight and 5:45 a.m. on July 30. In that case, every sign from Whippoorwill Drive was taken, several of the bases of the signs containing three or four bolts were then covered with a foam compound making it hard for township staff to access them.
The theft would have taken a significant amount of time, Maguire said.
“It wouldn’t have been five minutes. It would have taken time for them to go between traffic using the roadway. They would have had to go out to remove some and then go back and forth then load all those items up to take them away because there’s nothing around in that area that we found,” he said.
The township had to put an emergency call out for staff to put pylons on the road until the repairs were done on Monday.
Between replacement costs and the time employees took to do the repairs, the vandalism has come with budgetary hit, Maguire said. The materials alone were valued at $7,815, though that was based on pre-inflationary costs from 2022.
“One, it’s taking our staff away from other core jobs that they can be performing within the township. Two…those items do come with a cost to replace. So we’ve already purchased those items. [The money] for the staff time and the materials are lost when it could be used on other items in the township,” Maguire added.
The theft echoes a similar instance in 2020 when traffic signs were taken from Oriole Parkway. The signs are intended to ensure public safety, Maguire said.
“So that’s still something that we are aiming for is to be able to then promote safety on the roadway by keeping speeds down. Those are common practices to have those installed throughout Waterloo Region; you’ll see those in the City of Waterloo in the City of Kitchener and even the region uses those,” he said.
The township has not yet made a decision on its next course of action. WRPS has asked anyone who may have information on the instances to contact their non-emergency line at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online at www.waterloocrimestoppers.com.