EDITORIAL: Treat graffiti as public art

News editorial on tackling tagging and graffiti by providing more focused opportunities for artists

On the one hand it’s great seeing Saanich residents take charge and eradicate graffiti around their homes. On the other, it’s a shame that they have to spend their valuable time cleaning up their neighbourhood because vandals continue to deface public and private property.

Right now, when it comes to tagging, the scale is tipped in favour of vandals.

The few dollars they spend on a can of spray paint can result in hundreds of dollars in cleanup costs to home- and business owners. Saanich’s unsightly premises bylaw requires the cleanup of unauthorized artwork – be it an illegible scribble or a bright, beautiful mural – at the expense of the property owner.

Municipal governments, police departments and the private companies that own the bus shelters, mailboxes and telephone poles that are regularly tagged need to take better steps to tip the scale back in favour of property owners.

We think the best solution is to accept graffiti as part of the community.

The first step would be installing pro-graffiti areas throughout the municipality. Funnel artists to specific spots and walls where they can practise their art – good or bad, legible or unreadable. Negative and derogatory symbols and words can be removed, as needed, but provide taggers with a fresh canvas where they can show off their skills.

The second step is commission professional graffiti artists to produce murals as public art. Artists are typically respectful of one another, and are less likely to deface a mural.

Municipalities, homeowners and businesses in Greater Victoria spend more than $1 million every year on graffiti removal – think of how many bright, beautiful pieces of quality street art that could produce.

Graffiti – namely the stuff that doesn’t appear to have much artistic merit – causes frustration, headaches and lighter wallets for residents and property owners. Let’s find ways to better use that money to promote public artwork, beautify our neighbourhoods and hopefully eradicate the problem all at once.

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Residents encouraged to fill out online survey to provide feedback on regional needs. (Pixabay)
Wanted man Michael Bruce was arrested Wednesday in Langford. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP find wanted man hiding under mattress

Michael Bruce had multiple warrants out for his arrest in Sooke and the West Shore

Brian Korzenowski rides with Athena, left, and Venus who are safely strapped in and goggled up with the wind in their fur. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to Sooke Road commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Graduating students at Esquimalt Secondary School will have a rolling grad ceremony this Saturday (June 19). (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt High School’s graduation a driving experience

Second annual car rally and drive-through diploma pickup on tap for Saturday

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference in August 2019 about provincial government approval of the city’s change to a municipal force, joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. Members of the National Police Federation claim there is still no transition plan in place although Surrey RCMP’s contract with the city is due to end March 31.(File photo)
Elections BC approves petition application for referendum on Surrey policing transition

Application was filed under Recall and Initiative Act by the widow of a Surrey murder victim

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits he failed to supervise his staff and find or report the shortages

Most Read