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Painting the Town Clean: Downtown Acton BIA Brushes Off Graffiti

Call it graffiti, tagging or just plain vandalism—Downtown Acton BIA coordinator Matthew Galliford wants to do something about it. Armed with brushes and cans of durable outdoor paint, the Downtown Acton BIA coordinator and his co-op student Blake Galway have been matching colours and painting over much of the nuisance tagging after a recent wave of them appeared around Mill and Main Street earlier in April.

Galliford has documented 145 instances of tagging, most of them sprayed on adjacent alleys and the sides of buildings around the downtown core.  The alley beside Joe's Great Pizza was heavily tagged, as was the wooden fence at the Leathertown parking lot at Willow and Church. New tagging also appeared on the side of Dollar Stretcher Days as well as on the exterior of the old barber shop across the street. The sidewalk in front of Coldwell-Banker was also spray painted during this spree.

Galliford describes the outbreak as a one-off occurrence that originated in Georgetown and then made its way to Acton over a few nights. He thinks that the vandalism occurred between midnight and 3:00 am and was probably the work of one or two people. The activity has since abated.

“It's all the same initials. BG 24 painted with big bubble letters inside thin lettering,” said Galliford. “It all happened in the matter of about a week and didn't seem to progress east if John Street. None of the security cameras downtown caught anything. We had some footage but it was pretty-well useless.”

Galliford and his assistant acquired some heavy duty paint from Leathertown Lumber at low cost.  Brushes and rollers were also donated for the clean-up effort. He also enlisted the help of Halton Police community outreach officers to help power wash the side of Pizza Hub.

“Altogether we've spent about $350 on the effort,” he said. But so far we haven't had much cooperation from the weather.” Conditions have to be dry and warm for the paint to adhere.

However, Galliford and his assistant are working steadily to cover up the offending tags, painting over them whenever they have time. “We want to get rid of it because it detracts from the beauty of the downtown,” he said.


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