Awash in Options

Residents victimized by graffiti vandals can continue dialing the city for help after a council committee endorsed a recommendation to keep a pilot program going.

Bylaw boss Bill Bruce said people who have their properties tagged have the option to remove them, but if unable they can call 311 for help.

“It’s important that we can do this,” Bruce said after reporting to the Community and Protective Services committee Tuesday.

Before the pilot was introduced in 2009, residents victimized by vandals were fined if they couldn’t remove graffiti in a timely manner after being told by the city to scrub them off.

A pilot program was introduced so victims could call the city for help and contractors would remove tags free of charge.

In 2010, the program received a one-time funding of $350,000. City bureaucrats have pooled resources from the Community and Protective Services department to extend it this year and in the future without asking for more cash.

Bruce said they want to avoid penalizing property owners, especially those who can’t afford to hire professional graffiti scrubbers.

If owners don’t report the incident and their neighbours do, they get a notice from a bylaw officer advising them of their options, which include calling 311.

Bruce said owners need to sign a waiver allowing city contractors to go into their properties before any fix is made.

The number of reported incidents have gone down significantly.

About 162 sq. metres of graffiti have been removed this year from an estimated 8,000 tagging incidents, including those that took place on public property.

The Calgary Sun
Wed Oct 5 2011
Page: 10
Section: News

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