The City of Grande Prairie is working to recognize those helping the community put its best foot forward. A new program called Graffiti Removal Superstars was launched earlier this year to recognize businesses that keep their sites clear of graffiti.
The second event Thursday celebrated New Horizon Co-Op, the Pomeroy Group, the downtown Dairy Queen, 3 Squared Properties, and the Richmond Building. Pete Merlo was on hand on behalf of 3 Squared Properties. He says he believes what is on the outside of a building reflects what is on the inside.
“From our perspective I think it’s a common sense thing to take a little pride in your buildings and take some ownership to make sure you reflect in a positive way to the community.”
Businesses that consistently remove graffiti from their property can be nominated as a Graffiti Removal Superstar through Grande Prairie Crime Prevention. Graffiti can be reported through the hotline at 780-830-7080.
Enforcement services manager Chris Manuel says the impact of graffiti on the community can seem minor, but if left unchecked it can lead to more issues. He compares it to a broken window.
“It invites future vandalism to occur. It’s been proven over many decades if you repair that window before other windows get broken it reduces the incidents of that occurring.”
The city currently makes business owners responsible for cleaning and any related costs to graffiti. A proposed bylaw in the works would include a provision that would give bylaw officers more power to enforce fines on anyone caught tagging property.
A previous attempt at designated graffiti wall was met with mixed reviews, but the city says it is open to allowing them should there be interest from the community.