Eras­ing graffiti

Cost to re­move Summerside grafitti this sum­mer in the thou­sands

Journal Pioneer - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIL­LI­CENT MCKAY Mil­li­cent.mckay@jour­nal­pi­

About 200 graffiti tags have been sanded down, wiped away or cov­ered since the new graffiti re­moval pro­gram started last month in Summerside.

About 200 graffiti tags have been cov­ered since the new graffiti re­moval pro­gram started last month, ac­cord­ing to a City of Summerside of­fi­cial. JP Des­rosiers, the di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity ser­vices, says there are about 80 tags left that still need to be cov­ered or re­moved. Some of the tags are new while oth­ers are quite old, he said. The in­tro­duc­tion of the city’s new pro­gram has led to detailed track­ing of lo­ca­tions of all tags and their re­movals. “The pro­gram came about as I was get­ting tired of my green spa­ces crews be­ing pulled away from parks and green spa­ces work to deal with tags. This in­ter­rup­tion in ser­vice was cre­at­ing longer than nor­mal ser­vice de­liv­ery to our parks, board­walks and other ar­eas in the city,” ex­plained Des­rosiers. This sum­mer, he an­tic­i­pates the cost of graffiti re­moval will range from about $5,000 to $7,000, in­clud­ing labour and sup­plies. “In years to come this num­ber will likely drop as we deal with a stock­pile of older tags.” He says lo­cal res­i­dents have been great at no­ti­fy­ing the city about new and pre-ex­ist­ing tag lo­ca­tions. “We’ve also no­ticed a lot of lo­cal busi­nesses and res­i­dents clean­ing up pri­vate prop­erty tags.” He says there are there are two re­cur­ring tags. And while re­moval or cov­er­ing the tags has been suc­cess­ful, there are still new tags pop­ping up. “How­ever, it’s slowed sub­stan­tially, and we feel this pro­gram is well worth the in­vest­ment both short and long-term in deal­ing with the is­sue.” Trent Wil­liams, the city’s parks and green spa­ces man­ager, said the num­ber of graffiti tags that have been re­moved could be around 250 or higher. “We’re in our fifth week of this work and we’ll keep do­ing it for as long as we need,” said Wil­liams. There are a num­ber of ways to re­move the graffiti in­clud­ing sanding it off wooden sur­faces and us­ing pro­fes­sional grade ma­te­ri­als to re­move tags from con­crete, brick, steel and painted sur­faces. “As res­i­dents we’ve be­come a bit com­pla­cent. We get so used to see­ing the graffiti that it’s like we don’t no­tice it any­more. But once you be­gin look­ing for it, you’re quick to re­al­ize how much there is around the city.” He says pub­lic re­sponse to the tags has been help­ful and en­cour­ages city res­i­dents to con­tinue to re­port sight­ings to the po­lice. “It’s been great sup­port for the com­mu­nity to be en­gaged. Graffiti is a de­struc­tive ac­tiv­ity and it re­flects on our com­mu­nity in gen­eral. “I’d much rather see this turn into some­thing pos­i­tive. Maybe we can work with the tag­gers to set up more graffiti boards. This is their city too.”


Al Cameron sands off a tag from a util­ity pole in Summerside.

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