The BC Liberal government spent almost $32,000 between April 2013 and July 2016 on podium signs for news conferences.
Forty-two of the slogan-slathered boards cost taxpayers more than $100 each.
Both the quantity and cost have increased year-over-year, from $5,852.13 for 96 signs in the 2013 fiscal year to $7,709.32 for 143 in 2014. Last year, the government spent $12,643.57 for 240 podium signs. In just over three months of the fiscal year that began March 31, the government already spent $5,469.77 on 83 signs.
An explanation from the Government Communications and Public Engagement office that was included in the documents explained that the podium signs are employed to “effectively communicate the event message to the public”. “By having a podium sign, the viewer is able to see the event information in close-up photos/videos of the speaker,” said the note. “As social media and technology evolved, the podium sign became an event staple in order to accurately convey the announcement to viewers.”
Staff use their online Graphic Design Request System to supply slogans, deadlines and locations for delivery. The Queen’s Printer orders the signs from a pre-qualified vendor (such as SW Audio Visual and MediaCo). Costs depend on the deadline and printing location.
“Once the announcement is complete and if the signs cannot be used again for future events, many podium signs are taken by stakeholders as a keepsake,” the explanation continued. “Some podium signs are brought back to GCPE headquarters for storage. If possible, podium signs are re-used for similar announcements at a later date. Podium signs are kept for approximately two to three years and if they are deemed unusable for future events, they are given to Records Services for disposal.”
During the period, there were 562 signs bearing slogans from Balanced Budget, Investing in B.C. students and Supporting B.C. families to Strong economy, Taking Action on Housing Affordability in B.C. and Clean LNG.