Calgary Sun

Tuesday, June 29, 1999

Mountain out of a manhole?

By MICHAEL PLATT, CALGARY SUN

A prudish push to neuter Calgary's sexist street signs has aldermen shaking their heads.

In a letter addressed to city council, a group calling itself the Men's Educational Support Association (MESA) is demanding the city remove signs advising drivers of "Protruding Manholes" from Calgary's streets.

"The term is subject to interpretation and can mislead our thinking, in fact MESA finds this term derogatory and denigrating to men and women alike," wrote Gus Sleiman, president of the association.

"This term is outdated and does not take into consideration the sensitive gender issues affecting men and women."

Sleiman goes on to suggest the bright orange signs, used to warn motorists of the metallic bulges left during street repair, be changed to the more gender neutral "Maintenance Hole."

"I'm hoping this is just someone putting us on because I'm finding it pretty hard to believe anyone can be this silly," said Ald. Sue Higgins. "It's a bunch of crap."

While no one at MESA returned calls to explain the intent of the letter, Ald. Patti Grier said the city won't be taking the issue seriously in any case.

"We have higher priorities to spend our money on," she said.

Copyright© 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.