By Kathryn Stocks
Early in the morning on April 2, our beautiful Passage to Port Union mural at the Centennial Plaza was defaced with graffiti in three places. This angered the community and your community association. CCRA President Kathy Rowe sprang into action.
A day after the tagging took place, Kathy filed an online police report. She then emailed the plaza owners and let them know that their plaza wall had been tagged as it is the owner’s responsibility to remove tagging within 72 hours.
Kathy visited the plaza and was able to view security footage from the camera at JJ’s Roti Delight. All that was seen was a set of headlights shining toward the wall at 2 a.m. on Sunday, April 2. No people were captured on that plaza security footage.
Rob McMulkin, Community Recreation Programmer at the Port Union Community Centre, called corporate security and asked that the security camera footage taken by the community centre cameras be isolated for the weekend of April 1 should there be a request to view it.
On April 13, Kathy and Kaz Anwar attended the Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) meeting and Kathy made a presentation about the tagging of the mural. Officers stated that they were 99 percent certain the tagging was NOT gang related. Officers said they would request to see the security footage taken by the community centre cameras. Kathy has not yet heard back from them.
On April 15, she contacted the mural’s original lead artist, Allan Bender, and he agreed to remove the graffiti and restore the mural art. This work could start the last week in April, depending on the weather. He gave a ballpark figure of $1,240. Allan will be joined by a second artist to do this over a period of five days.
Kathy is pleased that the mural will be repaired sooner rather than later because the longer the graffiti remains, the more chance there is for additional tagging. She has contacted the plaza owners to let them know when the artists will be there.
The councillor’s office is looking into ways the city can help with payment of the restoration. They will look into available Section 37 funds as well as a future grant opportunity from StreetArt.
The hope is that the costs to the CCRA will eventually be compensated. Kathy would like to discuss some proactive measures regarding mural damage at the CCRA meeting on June 6.
If you are passing by the plaza and notice Allan, don’t hesitate to stop to say hello and thank him. Kathy would also like to thank Janice Bennink for all of her help getting things going with the mural repair