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City moves ahead with graffiti management strategy

Penticton council approved a $28,800 investment in a pilot program aimed at cleaning up and maintaining a graffiti - free downtown at the March 16 meeting of council.
Image Credit: InfoNews file photo
March 18, 2015 - 2:30 PM

PENTICTON - The city’s desire to take action against graffiti was firmed up at the March 16 meeting of council with approval of a graffiti management policy.

A Graffiti Management Strategy was introduced at a Committee of the Whole meeting on Feb. 2., with key elements in the strategy involving enforcement and education, reporting and recording and eradication.

The opportunity to participate in a pilot program with the Downtown Penticton Program was also presented at the Feb. 2 meeting, the committee eventually agreeing to fund half the program’s total $57,000 cost. The rest of the funding would be sourced by the graffiti management team.

Staff asked council Monday to approve the graffiti management policy in addition to entering into a partnership agreement with the Downtown Penticton Association for a one year term in the graffiti removal program.

Bylaw Services Supervisor Tina Siebert told council the pilot program would see a private company hired to remove the graffiti in the program area.

Siebert said next steps in the program would be to have the the pilot area cleaned followed by management of new graffiti in the pilot area with new reports of graffiti after May being handled under the new policy.

Councillor Judy Sentes was emphatic in her support of the project, but observed a discrepancy in responsibility with graffiti being assigned to property owners on one hand and property owners and tenants on the other.

“If we find graffiti, the tenant has an attitude that it’s the property owners responsibility, some of the property owners want the tenant to take responsibility. What I would like is for our information to be perfectly clear, otherwise your department is handcuffed,” said Sentes, who also felt a higher fine than $100 was in order.

“If this fine was, say $250, I’d bet we get resolution a lot faster,” she said.

Siebert admitted discrepancies between tenant and property owner had occurred in the past, but when enforcement was pursued, it was against the property owner. She said as a means of clarification she would make changes to the policy to ensure consistent wording.  Siebert said the cost of the fine could be reviewed as the pilot program progressed.

“I like the fact the strategy is a partnership, it’s a pilot project, and we’re finally dealing with it,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, who put forward the motion to unanimous consent from council.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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