Regulars at View Royal Park may have noticed the absence of one particular sign.
The sign, which has the company name Norwell Outdoor Fitness on it, teaches people how to use the outdoor workout equipment. But the sign’s quick response (QR) code was directing park users to a website with graphic adult images.
QR codes are a trademarked type of square barcode with black and white patterns. When scanned they reveal more information about a product, company or program.
Esquimalt resident Keith Davies discovered the malfunction while taking his dog for a walk. He frequents the park two or three times a month. Davies saw the QR code on the sign and thought it would be good to get more information on the equipment.
Davies noted he uses the QR code reader on his phone regularly, most often when he’s shopping to learn more about products.
When he scanned the park sign for the first time, it took him to a website with pornographic images. He thought it was a glitch, so he cleared the site and the code and started again, but ended up on the same website.
“It is just metres away from a children’s playground and they have cell phones,” he said.
“I just thought somebody should know.”
After being alerted to the problem, the Town of View Royal took down the sign and Mayor David Screech said staff at the Town notified Norwell as soon as they were made aware of it. To Screech’s knowledge, the Town is still waiting for a response.
“We have notified them and when we have assurance from them that it’s fixed, we’ll put it back up again,” Screech said.
Screech added it is unfortunate that websites can be easily hacked, and that it can happen anywhere.
He encouraged the community to notify the Town directly if inappropriate or lewd content is found on View Royal public property.
Norwell is a Danish company with offices throughout Europe and North America.
The company did not respond to a request for comment before the Gazette’s press deadline.