James Maclennan/for metro edmonton


The City of Ottawa has launched a graffiti strategy that employs police, bylaw and local business owners working together to rub out graffiti tags, like this one spotted in the downtown yesterday.


The writing is on the wall for graffiti here.

To show its commitment to combating vandalism, city council yesterday announced an expanded, $2.3 million anti-graffiti project that — coupled with a bylaw — is intended to wipe out graffiti across Ottawa.

Eric Katmarian, Ottawa’s technical services manager, said much of the money would be used for eradication, with more cleaning crews sent to seek and destroy the tags in five "zero-tolerance" zones across the city.

"Graffiti has been increasing and people have been more vocal about it," he said. "It has a … negative effect for new business and tourists to the city."

City police have run a pilot project in Orleans for three years and Const. Walter Duhme said it reduced visible graffiti by 87 per cent in that time.

"We just showed them that it could work," he said. "The principles of the program always came from the city."

Katmarian said officials are aiming for similar success, citywide. The program is based on the "4-E" model (eradication, empowerment, enforcement and education) developed by the city and police.

One of the city’s methods for empowering residents is to make cleaning supplies easier to acquire.

A deal has been struck with Swish Maintenance for residents to buy graffiti-cleaning products at a 30 per cent discount, and to rent pressure washers.

Business owners will need those resources since Ottawa will be enforcing a bylaw that requires them to remove graffiti with seven days, or have the city do it at their expense.



  • There will be an education symposium on the project on March 29.