In response to Cassandra Reed`s letter to the editor regarding graffiti being removed by Graffiti Grannies: Ms. Reed says the covering of graffiti is just another form of vandalism What would she call volunteers who pick up all those discarded candy wrappers, plastic bottles, pop cups and cans? Thieves?
We looked at the Facebook page she referred to. There is no indication of where these photos were taken, however the bridge photos were obvious. And the grannies cannot be held responsible for that because Emcon does all the painting on the bridge.
We can also assure Ms. Reed and the public that Community in Bloom, which sponsors the graffiti removal, does not use purple or pink paint.
Volunteers take great care in mixing the whites, greys, browns and beiges in order to blend into the rocks and rock walls. On the stairwells, they’ve covered unsightly expressions of obscenity with several coats of white paint.
As for the purple, pink and other hideous colours, we can only think that someone else was trying to cover up some personal message left anonymously.
What was particularly discouraging about the photos on Facebook, is the host did not allow anyone to make a comment or even send a message to correct any misinformation.
We have visited other cities where graffiti prevails – most recently, downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. A beautiful city with a lovely waterfront, but the graffiti spread throughout the downtown core made the whole place look derelict and neglected – like a city that’s been taken over by drug dealers and vandals.
Ms. Reed said the city should DO something. Well the city IS doing something. We have tax-payer funded Community in Bloom – an organization with literally hundreds of volunteers who strive to make Trail beautiful – to show residents and visitors that we take pride in our community.
The object is to make it an enjoyable place to spend time – a nice place to work, play, raise children and retire in –a place young people will be proud to stay in, or at least be proud to say they are from.
Ms. Reed indicated that vandalism is what kids `whose parents can`t afford hockey “do to let people know they exist.” In this town, we have provided a lot of services for youth.
Let me list a few: Air Cadets, Sea Cadets, Guides, Scouts, Rangers, 4H, Job`s Daughters, the Trail Ambassador program, United Way`s Youth Voices, Youth Community Development (YCDC), Sanctuary, Kids Zone and other youth groups sponsored by area churches. Crowe has quite a number of organizations and clubs – Interact, the Green Team and about eight or nine others.
We have various dance groups, music, gymnastics, martial arts, and every sport imaginable. And any kid who wants to join any sport but can`t afford it can seek funding through the Trail Athletic Association, Jump Start and other programs. All they need to do is express an interest to a teacher or guidance counselor and they would be led to the help they need. I’m sure a teacher would equally help a student who is inspired by the arts but can’t afford to take dancing, singing, or other music lessons.
We have provided some lovely parks – more parks and green spaces than big cities. Gyro has a lovely summer beach where it doesn’t cost a dime to lay around or cool off in the river. (You can thank those old guys from 44 Engineer Squadron for keeping the beach nice and sandy).
In winter, we provide free snow (most of the time) and all those parks are open for good old-fashioned winter fun. The city provides plenty of special events, skating and swimming opportunities. There are a lot of “free” days throughout the year, and students get discounts for hockey games.
The city hosts a Japanese twinning experience. If you can’t afford to go to Japan, but would like to travel, join the Interact club at Crowe. Interact organizes trips to Central America where students help poor children and families. Cost of the trip is fundraised, for the most part.
In all of the above-mentioned activities, we have incredibly delightful, talented, focused, smart, young people who manage to keep themselves busy – and not all of them come from families with loads of money. And we can pretty much guarantee that none of those kids would paint obscenities on a wall.
About the only thing we can claim to be missing is a skateboard park. Does anybody believe that a skateboard park would replace graffiti and/or vandalism? There will always be people who prefer to destroy rather than build – and they aren’t always young people.
What is most unfortunate about letters like this is, people get the impression that Ms. Reed speaks for all youth in the area. We’re sure she doesn’t. The majority of kids here are good responsible young people with goals, aspirations, and sensible heads on their shoulders. They study hard, they volunteer; they care about their community. They will grow up to be the leaders, movers and shakers of the next generation. The ones hanging around using spray paint for talent will likely end up with their very own private wall to paint – actually four of them.
So if you are so bored and want people to know you exist, then for gosh sakes tell us what you DO want. And if you are filled with energy and want something to do, give us a call – we have plenty of projects that could use some hands. “Old people” can’t do everything.
Dan and Lana Rodlie
Trail Community in Bloom