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Graffiti removal bylaw now in effect
Article mis en ligne le jeudi 5 avril 2012

The bylaw requiring large property owners to remove graffiti from their buildings went into effect April 1.

It obliges proprietors of commercial buildings with more than 300 square metres of floor space, or residential buildings of six or more units, to remove illegal graffiti within fourteen days of its appearance. The regulation was rolled out Oct. 19 last year, but was not initially enforced. The borough already removes graffiti from smaller buildings at its own expense.

The measure is a revision of a fall 2011 proposal that would have seen owners fined up to $1000 for leaving graffiti on their walls.

Property owners won’t incur any extra costs due to the bylaw, thanks to the borough’s pilot project in collaboration with non-profit organizations Prevention CDN/NDG and Eco Quartier. Eco Quartier will supply biodegradable cleaning kits and Prevention NDG/CDN will travel to affected properties to carry out graffiti removal work at ground level, free of charge. Those wishing to receive the services must complete a form authorizing the organization to perform the work on their property.

Homeowners and merchants will also be able to borrow the cleaning kits from either Eco Quartier or Tandem NDG/CDN if they wish to do their own cleaning.

At press time, Eco Quartier had not yet received the kits but expects to have them soon.

The bylaw works on the assumption that taggers will be deterred by the removal of their predecessor’s work. “If tags are removed promptly, the area tends to stay clean,” says Loyola councillor Susan Clarke.

Clarke hopes “everyone will pitch in to resolve the issue.” She recommends planting rose bushes or vines around property, as well as installing wireless cameras, to deter vandals.

Prevention NDG/CDN director Terry Ste-Marie has noticed a certain dwindling in terms of citizen responsibility, as some feel it is up to the city to promptly take care of graffiti on demand, and this is not always possible for the organization. She warns that there may be a 3-4 week wait for their services in the summer.

There has been no backlash to this approach, Clarke insists, contrary to the fines proposed last fall. “Many building owners cleaned their spaces proactively. One merchant even worked with other nearby owners to teach them how to clean it up.”

[ Ingrid Wissink ]

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