British Columbia

Stop signs in First Nation's language hit snag in Kamloops

A councillor for the City of Kamloops has had to put the brakes on a proposal to add the Tk'emlups language — Secwepemc — to stop signs in the city.

The provincial Motor Vehicle Act dictates the approved design for stop signs around B.C.

Stop signs on the Tk'emlups First Nation have the word stop in both English and Secwepemc. (Samantha Garvey/CBC)

A councillor for Kamloops, B.C., has been forced to put the brakes on a proposal to add a First Nation's language to stop signs in the city. 

Stop signs on the Tk'emlups First Nation, which borders Kamloops to the north east, are already bilingual, with the Secwepemc​ word for stop, estil, on each stop sign.

City Councillor Donovan Cavers thought it would be nice to include both languages on city signs as well.

"I thought it would be interesting to pursue the idea of doing that in our community as well just to see and express and bring more awareness of the First Nations culture to everyone in the community," he told CBC.

Cavers brought the idea to city council late last year, asking staff to do a report on the feasibility.

That report will be presented at Tuesday's city council meeting — showing it legally can't be done.

According to the staff report, the design of stop signs falls under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act, so the city has no jurisdiction to change them.

Cavers said he plans to ask staff to look at how the signs on the First Nation have been able to display the Secwepemc language despite the provincial standards for stop sign design.

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