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Vancouver property owners remove graffiti with help from City of Vancouver’s Free Paint Program

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Graffiti in a Marpole back alley on Granville Street and 70th Ave. Photo by: Ashley Viens
Graffiti in a Marpole back alley on Granville Street and 70th Ave. Photo by: Ashley Viens

Vancouver property owners can combat vandalism with help from a program reinstated by the city.

On Sept. 6, the city re-established the Free Paint Program, offering property owners a free can of paint twice a year to cover graffiti.

Dulux Paint media liaison Steve Hudye added that Dulux will also be offering paint and supplies at a reduced rate to owners that have a persistent problem with graffiti.

“The [Graffiti Management Program] ended in 2009 due to lack of funding, but right before the Olympics we saw residential and business owners really taking pride in their property and cleaning the graffiti themselves,” said Hudye.

The city’s former Graffiti Management Program ran from 2002 to 2009.

City of Vancouver communications coordinator Tania Dokter stated in an email that staff have already begun distributing supplies to private property owners and local businesses to remove graffiti.

“City Council re-established the [Graffiti Management Program] to address the increasing issue of graffiti in Vancouver and [to] keep the city beautiful,” said Dokter.

Owner initiative helps deter vandals

Vandalism and graffiti can cause a neighbourhood or business area to feel unsafe, sometimes leading to more crime.

Certain areas of South Vancouver have been heavily targeted in the past.

However, many property owners have taken initiative to keep their property graffiti-free.

“We used to have a problem with graffiti when we first took over and we had a public phone out front, but we took out the phone and we haven’t had any issues,” said Steve Ram, owner of All India Sweets and Restaurant.

Vandalism is a criminal offence

Bylaw 7343 states that “both commercial and residential property owners must remove any and all graffiti within ten days of receiving a notice from the City of Vancouver.”

The bylaw also states that any graffiti written on either public or private property without prior permission is vandalism and those caught will face a minimum $500 fine.

Vancouver residents are encouraged to record and report all instances of graffiti to police.

“I don’t really see [vandalism] as a huge problem, it’s not hurting anyone and there’s bigger fish to fry,” said Langara College student Erin Roberts. “I would probably just walk on by.”

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Reported by Ashley Viens

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