Taggers aren’t getting a chance to admire their handiwork for long in Calgary, with a city graffiti abatement program proving so successful that 15,000 square metres have been cleaned or painted over so far this year.
The program was installed in 2010 and allows property and business owners to call the city’s 311 help line for free graffiti removal.
“In general, we’ll have it gone within 24 hours, and there will be no cost to the homeowner or the business,” said city bylaw chief Bill Bruce.
The program was jumpstarted with a one-time funding nod of $350,000.
Bruce said various city departments have now pooled existing money and they won’t need any more added to their annual budget to keep the program running.
Last year the program responded to 2,779 complaints of graffiti on public property and 2,422 incidents on private property.
The city has a contractor who removes the graffiti, and the cost has been brought down to $15.71 a square metre ($1.46 a square foot).
Before the program was launched, Bruce said some owners and businesses tar-geted by tagging were “victimized” repeatedly.
First, they had graffiti scrawled on their property, then they would get a notice from the city telling them to clean it.
And if they didn’t, they would be sent the bill.
The problem, Bruce said, is some people can’t physically, or afford, to get rid of the graffiti themselves – and this program was launched as a result.
“You just call and we come. We encourage you, if you can do it yourself, to do it – but if you can’t, call and we’ll come.”
Wed Oct 5 2011
Section: City & Region
Byline: Richard Cuthbertson