CDN—NDG graffiti law will go through

The borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has passed a bylaw that attempts to clear up the graffiti in the area.
Montreal city council voted last week to implement a new graffiti bylaw. Photo by Navneet Pall.

The borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce has passed a bylaw that attempts to clear up the graffiti in the area.
The borough council voted through the bylaw on Oct. 3 which imposes fines of up to $1,400 on property owners who fail to clean up graffiti on their walls. The new bylaw has some unsettled property owners who find it unfair that they have to pay for vandalism committed by other people.
But the Union Montréal councillor who proposed the bylaw, Susan Clarke, calls it “one more arrow in the quiver [for] making our community look and feel better.”
Whether Concordia University, with its Loyola campus located on the western edge of the borough, will be affected is not entirely clear. With one fence on Sherbrooke St. tagged in September, Loyola isn’t immune to graffiti. Will the university, which has asked the provincial government to raise tuition in order to make ends meet, have to pay a fine if someone decides to graffiti the AD building or the new sports complex?
The answer falls into “virgin territory,” according to university spokesperson Chris Mota. She said she could not give an immediate answer, and that the university is “reviewing the situation.”
Clarke’s answer was that Concordia, as a non-profit organization, would likely be exempt from any fines, similar to housing co-ops or the veterans’ Legion Hall.
She also suspected that graffiti is not an issue for institutions like Concordia. “As far as I understand, most institutions already have programs in place to deal with the issue,” she said. “They already take care of removal themselves.”
But if Concordia does fail to clean up after graffiti, Clarke answered that she doesn’t think it would ever lead to a “confrontation” between the borough and the university. “I think that what would probably happen is that I would pick up the phone and call one of the VPs that I know, or one of the assistant VPs that I know there, and say, ‘You’ve always been a good institutional citizen in our area, can we have some help with this?’’’
The borough estimates that it spends around $700,000 a year cleaning up graffiti, and that it can no longer cover the cost. “The bylaw is really only intended to coerce people who really don’t want to or care to keep their properties clean,” Clarke added.
The bylaw raised the ire of property owners when it was first proposed last August . Since then, it has been changed to exempt owners of residential buildings with six or less units, and owners of commercial buildings that are smaller than 300 square metres.

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