Property owners in NDG could face graffiti fines

Property owners in Notre-Dame-de-Grace could soon face hefty fines if they let graffiti linger on their buildings.
NDG council is considering a bylaw that could see property owners fined if they fail to clean up graffiti. (CBC)

Property owners in Notre-Dame-de-Grace could soon face hefty fines if they let graffiti linger on their buildings.

The borough is considering a new bylaw that could see owners fined up to $1,000 if the vandalism isn’t removed in a timely manner.

"We’re not hoping to run out and start fining people left, right and centre," said borough councillor Susan Clarke.

 "We’re going to make sure that we provide them with tools, but we also want people to start taking responsibility for looking out for their own property."

Clark said she’s spoken with hundreds of residents and business owners while developing the bylaw and most people agree something needs to be done about tagging in the area.

Last year, the borough spent $600,000 on removing graffiti from city property and public monuments alone.

Clark said other cities that have implemented similar bylaws have had success in reducing vandalism.

Graffiti bad for business

Business owner Mitchell Bobb of Mitch Auto Electronique on De Maisonneuve Boulevard said tagging is a daily problem and he’d welcome a change.

"We want to keep it clean so people aren’t afraid to come in the area, but it’s getting worse and worse every year," he said. "It’s bad for business and something’s got to be done about it."

Mitchell Bobb says he'd welcome the new bylaw. (CBC)
Bobb rents the space that houses his business, but said he’d be willing to pay more per month if the graffiti problem was brought under control.

Others say the city needs a better solution and the focus should be on enforcement of existing anti-graffiti laws. 

"We’re not responsible for the kids that go around and put graffiti on our buildings," said NDG building owner, Peter Sergakis.

"As soon as you clean the graffiti, the next day they go back and put it on the wall twice as much. It’s a challenge for them when you clean it."

He said the city should establish an enforcement task force and crack down on what he believes is the small group of young people behind the problem.

The borough has spoken with police about increasing enforcement, Clark said. If offenders are caught, the cost of the clean up can be billed back to them or their parents by the municipality. 

The borough is holding an information session on the proposed bylaw on Sept. 21.

The motion will go to the borough council for approval in October.