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Graffitists to foot cleaning costs
Article mis en ligne le mercredi 23 juin 2010
 
Photo Marie Cicchini
Susan Clarke, Loyola district councillor and responsible for the graffiti file, Terri Ste. Marie, Prevention NDG Manager, Commandant Daniel Leduc and Sergent Pascal Gosselin, Police Station 11.

Graffitists will be billed for any costs incurred for graffiti removal on public or private property.

“The borough is introducing a strong additional anti-tagging measure. When taggers are caught, we will be issuing a bill to them or to their parents for the actual costs of cleaning up the tags. The police has recently caught four taggers and the borough will be issuing their bills very soon. They were all minors,” said Loyola district councillor Susan Clarke.

Clarke spearheaded the pilot project for CDN-NDG and made the joint announcement with police and borough officials.

“In 2009 borough taxpayers paid almost $700,000 to remove almost 19,000 square metres of graffiti, which are generally considered very ugly by the public,” she said.

In recent years vandalism has been tremendously active in the borough, especially in NDG, with disfigured war monuments in parks and graffiti drawn on every possible element of the urban landscape. Some reportedly feared graffitists were turning neighbourhoods into slums.

Prevention NDG’s budget to remove graffiti from private property and increase youth awareness is increasing by $25,000, which brings it to $125,000 per year.

Since 2009 the borough, in partnership with Prevention NDG, removed numerous graffiti, painted 11 murals in an effort to beautify neighbourhoods and carried out prevention efforts in schools.

The intent of the new initiative is to make the culprits aware that it is a crime to grafitti and that they are liable for the cost incurred by the city or property owners to erase permanent markings, everything from a squiggle to full-blown graffiti.

It is intended to be a collective effort by the borough, police and citizens. Residents are directed to dial 911 to report graffitists who vandalize private property and to dial 311 to report to the City any incident involving public property.

“The borough will do more because fighting tagging is a multi-pronged approach. This fall, at back to school time, more announcements will be made, so stay tuned,” said Clarke.

What’s more, the SPVM is now equipped to keep a register of tags with photos and their locations. If someone is caught they can also be charged with the cost of cleaning their own personal tags from other sites as well.

At the end of summer the borough will carry out an awareness campaign to prevent further damage to buildings and street furniture. In the meantime, CDN-NDG is increasing its efforts to establish a long-term partnership with major institutions that deal with graffitists and businesses that sell graffitists’ supplies.

[Marie Cicchini]





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