By Laura Keil

Valemount seems to have a graffiti problem and the Village of Valemount needs a better approach to the issue.

Graffiti is something normally reserved for the outside walls of buildings But there are other places graffiti can appear – railcars, bridge piers, and skate parks to name a few and it doesn’t necessarily have to be paint. In Valemount, vandals have put their sights on one particular area – the inclusivity crosswalk on Ash Street.

I’ve listened to a number of opinions on this matter and the most common is this: those supporting the crosswalk should have seen this coming ie) the crosswalk and associated vandalism only does more damage than good. But the more I think about it, the more I feel like that’s saying we shouldn’t have walls on buildings, or public art murals, or flags, in the event that someone decides to take out their rage on these things.

The biggest problem, in my view, is not that the crosswalk is being vandalised, but the fact that the crosswalk is being left like that for months – marred with black lines, despite the hard work of local volunteers and/or public works who have tried to wash it off. We need a better approach. It’s well-documented that the longer you leave graffiti at a particular spot, the more likely that spot becomes a target for graffiti. The defacing of the crosswalk is essentially graffiti. People are tagging the rainbow with their personalized rubber streaks, hoping to make a statement, to many shaking heads.

Targeting another set of beliefs because you disagree is un-Canadian. Sadly, I believe those with the desire to lash out at others do so out of misguided fears which manifest as hatred. By leaving the marks visible for long periods of time we are empowering these individuals to continue these silly, damaging outbursts.

I understand commercial road paint isn’t cheap, but there must be a cheaper interim solution, perhaps a road paint that can be applied for the short-term within a few days of the incident. It’s only paint, after all, not rocket fuel.

If the Village is intent on being an inclusive village with inclusive symbols I believe it’s worth the time and money to up the ante.

Perhaps the new traffic committee can add this to their agenda.