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Grads get rid of graffiti

A group of Penticton Secondary grads, in collaboration with the Downtown Penticton Association, attacked the unwanted graffiti that adorns the walls of many downtown businesses Wednesday.

The initiative brought together bylaw officers, the RCMP, business and landowners as well as about 50 Pen Hi grads.

This is the first time the DPA has organized a collaborative effort to tackle graffiti. 

The DPA paid for everything except for the paint and the work was done by Pen Hi grads who volunteered their time to give something back to the community. 

"We had six very proactive landowners, two of them had the most graffiti of anyone, so they really wanted to see their buildings done," said executive director of the DPA Kerri Milton.

"We're targeting six of those sites today to get this kickstarted."

Julianna Jeans is the grad who, in a little less than a week, organized the more than 50 students that turned out to help.

"I was expecting about 20, over 50 showed up," she said.

"I thought that was kind of a shame - that it was about to not happen because of the strike - but we decided to make it happen anyway."

"I work downtown and I think it just looks a lot nicer when it's clean."

Tim Scott is the owner of Cue's GameRoom and one of the business owners getting graffiti removed.

He said his business hasn't actually had a ton of problems with graffiti except for the past six months or so.

"The last month or two months, it's really just taken off," he said.

"There are few mornings that I go out and don't see some new tags as I walk around."

At the same time, the DPA is setting up more locations for commissioned graffiti art.

Milton said she has arranged two more large walls to be painted by graffiti artists, which she hopes can get started in mid-June.

"We just started it. Monday we did the posting for artists and hopefully we can get that started in a couple of weeks when the weather will be nice and they can really get out and paint," she said.

This event kickstarted the graffiti removal downtown, and the DPA will continue to paint over new graffiti that pops up in future. 

Beginning about mid-June they are also bringing in the Penticton & Area Cooperative Enterprises who will help keep graffiti under control in the downtown area.

"Right now they do our barricades for the markets . . . but they will be helping out with [graffiti] too," said Milton.

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