The city is considering imposing fines on waste management companies that don’t remove graffiti from their dumpsters.
Pat Patterson, the city’s bylaw enforcement officer, said city staff have noted that since council implemented a five-day window for business owners to remove graffiti from their buildings, the amount of tags on waste receptacles has been on the rise.
“It is proposed that the most effective way to deal with graffiti on waste receptacles is to place an obligation on the waste collection companies to identify and remove graffiti from their waste receptacles in a manner and within time frames consistent with existing bylaw regulations,” Patterson said.
The city is proposing that the companies be given 12 days to remove graffiti on its dumpsters or else face a $250 fine from the city.
City Clerk Peter Wipper said the rationale behind the time frame is based on the pick up schedule.
“Waste companies typically pick up on a weekly basis,” Wipper said. “When they go to pick up the bin, if the graffiti is there, it would give them an additional couple of days to have it cleaned up before it’s put back.”
But Coun. Larry Samson said he’d prefer to see council work with the waste management companies to come up with some solutions, rather than have the city levying fines.
“They don’t have a big profit margin because there’s so many companies in town. This could be a huge expense for them and I would rather look at alternate solutions with them rather than coming in and hitting them with a fine,” Samson said.
“Even now we see the graffiti on the Telus switch boxes (that) we see on the side of the road. Graffiti is a problem, I think we need to address it with them and not bring in a bylaw.”
Coun. Ron Kerr agreed graffiti is a problem. He said while it may seem unfair, it’s a reality that needs to be dealt with.
“This is vandalism we’re talking about and unfortunately there is a cost to the owners of the containers,” Kerr said. “But to neglect the removal of the tagging would undermine the hard work of the community to clean up this scourge of tagging within the community.”
The city over the past few years has made a concerted effort to deter vandalism. In addition to beefing up its graffiti bylaw with increased fines and shorter timelines to remove graffiti, the city has also been decorating utility boxes in anti-graffiti wrap and in Campbellton, the Campbellton Neighbourhood Association has been active in painting over vandalism.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield said while he agrees the city needs to keep on top of the graffiti problem, he wanted to know from staff whether the waste companies would have ample time to respond to the bylaw before it becomes law.
Wipper said staff will arrange for all of the waste management companies to have the opportunity to review the bylaw and provide comment before it moves forward.
Wipper said staff would then report back to council with all comments and the affected companies would have the opportunity to speak to council at an open meeting.
That satisfied council which then chose to go ahead with passing first and second reading of the bylaw. Samson was the lone councillor opposed.