A new sign in Cherryville is creating a chuckle for residents wondering if North Fork Road has been renamed. (Les Quigley Photo)

A new sign in Cherryville is creating a chuckle for residents wondering if North Fork Road has been renamed. (Les Quigley Photo)

MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Quality control issue spells trouble ahead

Misspelled street sign in North Okanagan has (humorous) consequences

Spelling counts.

Just ask the fine people of Cherryville who have to put up with a new highway sign that states unequivocally that North Folk Rd. is AHEAD. Well, it’s not.

North Fork Road is ahead, where it’s always been, but the promise of North Folk, or even Norfolk, Va., for that matter, being ahead is not even close to being the truth.

It just shows you that typos, even on a highway sign with only three words, one abbreviation and 16 letters, can inflict untold consequences, curses and more than a few smiles.

Luckily the folks in Cherryville and area are secure enough in their local history and governance that they aren’t adopting a new name for one of their main roads just because the provincial government said so.

READ MORE: Road sign that gave Cherryville a chuckle replaced

Or tried to with a sign, but didn’t tell them any other way. Or just screwed up a fairly simple task, which is kind of funny but exasperating at the same time.

And apparently, this isn’t the first time the ministry of transportation failed to use its sign spellcheck feature, either that or they desperately need to hire a semi-retired former editor. (See bottom of column for contact information.)

A story in the Kelowna Capital News this summer revealed a new sign near Big White that greeted drivers with “Entering Kootney Boundry Regional District.”

READ MORE: Misspelled road sign for ‘Kootney-Boundry’ sparks confusion online

Now to be charitable, I think we should acknowledge that three of the words are spelled correctly. That’s over half. And those are the words that spellcheck would catch.

To spell Kootenay and Boundary correctly you might need an atlas, or Google, or rudimentary knowledge of B.C. geography, or you know, maybe ask someone who knows.

What could they have possibly done in this instance? Guess? Not care? Couldn’t afford to buy a couple more vowels to solve the puzzle?

Quality control is obviously a huge issue to the point that one grasps for answers about the inability to get something fairly easy so wrong, at least twice, and at taxpayers’ expense.

My first guess, or conspiracy theory, your choice, is that the ministry is contracting out highway signs to a firm in Upper Mongolia, or maybe Kazakhstan, that isn’t up on the intricacies of the English language, let alone B.C. place names. Still, there still should be some kind of oversight in Victoria, and then again regionally and then again with the person actually putting the sign in the ground.

Now, I don’t want to get all high and mighty on this topic. Being in the newspaper industry most of my life, I’m well aware that typos and mistakes happen, and we’ve had more than our share, humorous and otherwise.

We did our best and were quite diligent, but stuff happens when you’re recording history on the run. I used to say getting basic things right, like spelling and the date on the front page of the paper, were crucial in establishing trust with the community.

Somehow we still got the date wrong on the front page on several occasions. However, I will point out there are thousands of words in every paper – signs, not so much.

But rather than sharing our flubs (another column), I’ll relay when the editor of the Williams Lake Tribune was so worried about alerting his readers to the upcoming time change that he mistakenly put the announcement in the paper one week too early. Oops.

However, I’m quite concerned this quality control problem with street signs is going to get worse before it gets better.

So one safety tip for all you drivers out there. If you come across an octagon-shaped, red-coloured sign emblazoned with large white letters that say – STOOP – don’t bend down, rather hit the brakes, hard.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of The Morning Star.

mitchchap1@outlook.com

READ MORE: Cherry still touted a great Canadian by Vernon restaurant


@VernonNews
letters@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

It's believed the Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Sunday night. (Aileen Mascasaet Maningas)
Church burns on Penticton Indian Band land

The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read