Nova Scotia

Lunenburg's mayor says 'go away' doesn't reflect town values

The mayor of Lunenburg says her town does not have a problem accepting new residents, she says the town works hard to make sure everyone feels welcome.

‘Lunenburg is actually a very cosmopolitan community for a rural town in Nova Scotia,’ says Rachel Bailey

Lunenburg's mayor Rachel Bailey says it's not clear exactly who the graffiti message was targeting or exactly what it meant. (Hal Higgins/CBC)

The mayor of Lunenburg, N.S.,  said graffiti scrawled on the sidewalk near a local business does not represent how the town feels about new residents. 

The graffiti says "go away" and was written on the sidewalk in front of dis.cord gallery and studio.

The studio's owner Farley Blackman lives in Lunenburg during the summer and spends the rest of the year in the United Kingdom. He believes that graffiti highlights an undercurrent of dislike that some people in Lunenburg have for "come from aways." 

Farley Blackman said this graffiti outside of his business in Lunenburg should prompt a discussion about how people can be more welcoming to those not originally from Nova Scotia. (dis.cord gallery and studio)

"Lunenburg is actually a very cosmopolitan community for a rural town in Nova Scotia," said Rachel Bailey, the town's mayor. 

Town has welcoming program

Over the years the community has opened its doors to newcomers, according to Bailey. She said she has never heard any complaints about feeling unwelcome from new residents or business owners.

The graffiti spelling out "go away" was spray painted outside the dis.cord gallery and studio which is owned by a man who only lives in Lunenburg for the summer. (dis.cord gallery and studio)

"We have instituted a welcome program simply to ensure that new residents to our community receive a very warm and personal welcome when they come to town," Bailey told CBC Nova Scotia's Information Morning.   

Not clear who graffiti was meant for

Bailey said because the graffiti was on the public sidewalk it's not clear the graffiti's message was aimed at Blackman. Even if the message was meant for Blackman, she said it might have no connection to him being from somewhere other than Lunenburg. 

"He has a number of dealings with many people in different courses of doing business, so it was outside of a gallery, perhaps it was a disgruntled artist? We really don't know and can't presume to know why someone wrote that and what their situation was or their relationship with Mr. Blackman may have been."       

with files from Information Morning