Nanaimo’s graffiti gets scrubbed on cleanup day

Graffiti that accumulated on fences, buildings, mailboxes, signs and utility poles over the winter will get scrubbed away when volunteers do their spring cleaning this weekend.

Graffiti that accumulated on fences, buildings, mailboxes, signs and utility poles over the winter will get scrubbed away when volunteers do their spring cleaning this weekend.

The annual Nanaimo Graffiti Vandalism Clean Up happens Saturday (June 11) 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Volunteers gather in front of Save-On-Foods, Country Club Centre, where they register for the cleanup, are handed all the supplies they need, given a short training session on how to scrub away graffiti, and bused to spots around the city where heavy tagging has marred property.

Graffiti gained ground in north Nanaimo neighbourhoods over the past year, but Brian Denbigh, manager of roads and traffic services, said the numbers of graffiti tags in Nanaimo have been on the decline.

Cleaning and repairing surfaces damaged by graffiti tags is expensive.

The city budgeted $71,000 for graffiti cleanup in 2010. Insurance against graffiti and vandalism also adds roughly $10,000 to the price of a new home in Nanaimo. Graffiti also lowers property values and hurts tourism.

The Nanaimo Graffiti Task Force and the city hosted the Community Forum on Graffiti to instruct the public on how to keep graffiti under control in their neighbourhoods May 26.

“The more people understand what it does and how it affects the community, I think the more people will say we really don’t want this in our town,” Denbigh said.

The cleanup day wraps up with a barbecue and raffle prize draws for the volunteers. The top prize is an iPod Touch, donated by Save-On-Foods.

For more information, please call Nanaimo Const. Gary O’Brien at 250-755-3257.