Goodbye nuisance tags! Hello clean walls!
How the BIA Graffiti Tag Removal Program works
One fine morning in June, Marlene Haley, owner of BIA member merchant The Merry Dairy arrived at work on a Monday morning to realize her building had been hit overnight with a huge, ugly set of graffiti tags that covered the whole Gladstone Avenue side of her building.
‘When I arrived at work I noticed it right away, it was SO BIG!” Said Marlene.
Whenever her building had been tagged in the past, a City by-law had required Marlene to pay for the removal herself or face a steep fine.
But that was before Fall 2020, when her business was included in our Wellington West BIA boundary expansion area. So this time, all Marlene had to do was contact the Wellington West BIA Office. And here’s the result:
“I knew that the Wellington West BIA offered a Graffiti Tag Removal Program, so when this tag happened, I felt relieved knowing that the BIA offered this service.
The graffiti removal team came within an hour and matched the brick so well. We were so impressed. They do a really good job!’Marlene Haley – Owner, The Merry Dairy
Free service solves a persistent problem
That’s the sort of success story we love to hear! But most of our neighbours wouldn’t even know the BIA team had done anything at all, because that tag just disappeared so quickly and efficiently – just one of the many little-known things the BIA does to improve life and solve problems for our members.
And the program works hand in hand with our public art and mural programs to encourage much more art in public spaces across the area while fighting the more destructive wall tag vandalism that used to cost our members so much time and stress (not to mention bylaw fines).
But we don’t do it alone!
As BIA Executive Director Dennis Van Staalduinen likes to point out: “This Graffiti Tag Removal Program is a great example of a multi-pronged partnership where local leaders are empowered to solve local problems themselves.”
Here’s how it works:
- Ottawa BIAs convinced the City of Ottawa to provide an annual grant to act as a hyper-local tag-removal agency.
- Wellington West BIA contracts and manages a professional service to provide weekly patrols, and on-demand removal services.
- Helpful community members, association partners, and local merchants report tags to the BIA.
- Our graffiti removal experts respond fast to remove or cover tags with wall-colour-matched patches – usually within just a few hours.
- The BIA receives regular data and reports to track our strategy and success over time.
It’s a real wIn-win-win-win. we’re happy to report that incidents have gone from several dozen tags a month in 2018 to only a few dozen a year in 2019 and 2020. And we’re on track for the cleanest year ever in 2021!
“Our office used to hate getting calls about graffiti tagging sprees back when it was a very frequent and persistent problem. But now, we love those calls; because it’s so easy to fix this problem for our merchants.”Michelle Eagen, Wellington West BIA Operations Manager
How to report a tag
If you see a tag on a local business, please send the BIA an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the building’s address, and if possible, please also send us a picture. You can also tag us on social media or phone the office, but email is the fastest way for us to pass the information on to our tag-removal crew.
NOTE: We cover all commercial and industrial buildings as well as BIA planters and fixtures within the BIA boundaries covering Hintonburg and Wellington Village, including all four walls of the buildings at the ground level. Our free service doesn’t cover residential or municipal properties, signs, or furniture, but if you are having trouble with 311 or a tagging spree hits a number of homes at the same time as businesses, we may be able to help.
For any graffiti tags that are higher up, scratched into glass, or on non-commercial properties adjacent to a business where you have the owner’s permission, BIA members will receive an exclusive 25% discount if they work with our service.