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Penetanguishene exploring options to deal with increase of graffiti

Penetanguishene council could roll policy into its property standards bylaw or opt to create a stand-alone policy that targets graffiti
Staff brought forward some options Wednesday about the policy for graffiti removal from private properties. Mehreen Shahid/MidlandToday

Penetanguishene municipal staff is contemplating adding a graffiti policy for private properties to its existing property standards bylaw. 

It's something that needs to be addressed now more than ever, said Coun. Brian Cummings, who brought the issue forward to council. 

"I have noticed lately that there's a bit more graffiti in town...a copycat of ENAC (tag)," he said. "If they see it once, they figure they can get way with it and blame the same person."

While this isn't the only option staff proposed, they will be looking at this as a starting point, said Cummings.

"I would like to see what they come up with in property standards first," he said. "There is also the possibility of a having a stand-alone graffiti bylaw."

In its report presented to council committee on Wednesday, April 22, staff says the authority for a municipality to address graffiti under the property standards bylaw falls under the Building Code Act (BCA). 

The report notes there are various benefits of creating a bylaw under the BCA, including the authority to enter property, levy fines, recover expenses related to removal through taxes etc.

Staff are looking at other municipalities that have chosen to include their graffiti rules within their property standards bylaws.  

"I think that's a good idea," said Cummings, adding he hasn't had time to do his own homework around this option. "I would like to see how (other municipalities) are using it. If it's sufficient to clean up a little bit of it, it would be a good idea."

In a previous conversation with MidlandToday, Cummings had mentioned the ability for the town to designate specific public properties for public art or tastefully done graffiti. 

"I mentioned to you last time the skateboard park," he said. "There's some nice art down there, but there's no place for it in town. It's not feasible, nor would it look good. I'm not sure where we designate a spot in town." 

Cummings said he has looked at the model Toronto employs.

"They have committees set up in Toronto that find designated areas and they interview artists for that," he said. "I would like to see that, but I don't think we have much in the way of designated areas. That's our problem. You can't tag the sides of building, because it's not public property." 

Eventually, Cummings said, he would like to see what staff can come up with around a bylaw within property standards bylaw first and then go from there.

Staff intends on bringing forward a report on the property standards bylaw by June.