Mural planned for Creekside underpass 

Council briefs: UBCM in Victoria; bylaws advanced

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - CANADIAN GRAFFITI A family passes by some graffiti in the Creekside underpass. The RMOW plans to replace the graffiti with a mural done by local artists.
  • photo by braden dupuis
  • CANADIAN GRAFFITI A family passes by some graffiti in the Creekside underpass. The RMOW plans to replace the graffiti with a mural done by local artists.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is looking to replace graffiti on the Creekside underpass with a commissioned mural after a suggestion from someone in the community.

The idea came from Creekside resident Elizabeth Turner, in a recent letter to council.

"Living in Creekside we kind of feel like the forgotten child or something, of Whistler," Turner said in a follow-up phone call.

"Sometimes things can degrade down at that end of town, so I just wanted to write the letter to bring some attention to it."

In her letter, Turner — a social scientist — referenced "broken windows theory," which states that the presence of graffiti sends the message that lawlessness is tolerated.

"You don't want to give the idea that, hey, this is a zone where laws aren't really enforced," she said, adding that she was happy to see the RMOW responding to her concerns.

"(The graffiti) seemed like it was getting really out of control, because people were spraying obscenities, and there are a lot of people with children that walk under there," she said.

"It was also expanding up from the underpass to where it was visible outside of it, and on the Valley Trail and some of the Valley Trail signs."

The RMOW, through its Public Art Committee, will issue an open call for artists for a mural project in the underpass in 2017.

The mural will replace the makeshift gallery of amateur graffiti currently lining the walls of the underpass.

The structural maintenance of the overpass itself is the jurisdiction of the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), though some aspects of its maintenance fall under a special agreement between MOTI and the RMOW.

"Graffiti removal is one of them," a MOTI spokesperson wrote in an email.

"We recognize that graffiti vandalism is an eyesore, and it can quickly and negatively transform a neighbourhood. The ministry has been in touch with the (RMOW) and asked for the timely removal of this graffiti."

The RMOW, for its part, said there is no formal agreement in place for graffiti removal in that area.

"RMOW park operations has periodically painted over unsightly graffiti on the Creekside underpass," a spokesperson said in an email.

"The municipality has found, however, that painting over graffiti with white or grey paint, just 'renews the canvas' (so to speak) for more graffiti tags. In contrast, people seem to respect the art, when murals are painted."

WHISTLER MAYOR AND COUNCIL ATTEND UBCM CONVENTION

Housing, daycare and passenger rail are just a few of the topics on the table for RMOW mayor and council at this year's Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria from Sept. 26 to 30.

There are roughly 150 resolutions coming before the convention, many that directly pertain to Whistler.

Among those the RMOW will be supporting are resolutions on a National Housing Strategy, the BC Conservation Office capacity, passenger rail service between North Vancouver and Prince George and a tax on short-term accommodation.

Whistler also has a resolution of its own on the table, regarding a Universal Daycare Plan.

If adopted, the resolution will urge the provincial government to create new and affordable licensed daycare spaces for families with an annual income below $40,000.

It was originally proposed by Coun. Jen Ford.

"It's crippling for a lot of families out there right now," Ford said at the Sept. 20 council meeting.

"The lists are long to get into the three daycares that we have here, and it's frightening when parents are not going back to work because they have no choice."

Two other communities are taking similar resolutions forward at the convention, which is encouraging to see, Ford said.

"Momentum is gaining and we have some great advocates out there that are working really, really hard," she said.

"I know that it's a long-term solution but it's really exciting that there is support for it out there."

RMOW council had meetings lined up with six ministers: Shirley Bond (Jobs, Tourism, Skills Training and Labour), Steve Thomson (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), Peter Fassbender (Community, Sport, Cultural Development) Todd Stone (Transportation and Infrastructure), Stephanie Cadieux (Children and Family Development) and Mary Polak, (Environment).

Check back with Pique next week for more from UBCM.

BYLAWS ADVANCED

At its Sept. 20 meeting, RMOW council gave first three readings to a Building and Plumbing amendment bylaw.

The amendment is primarily a housekeeping measure and concerns two specific areas: updating the form that a strata corporation needs to complete when someone is applying for a building permit on strata common property and providing a five-per-cent discount to plumbing permit fees if the work has been certified by a professional engineer.

Council also adopted three bylaws at the Sept. 20 meeting: an amendment to its five-year financial plan, a taxation exemption for philanthropic purposes for the Emerald Forest lands and a zoning amendment for the Whistler RV Park.

The park was brought into the RMOW with 2007's boundary expansion, but has remained unzoned under RMOW bylaws ever since.

The TV3 zone was custom created for the park with the intention of allowing existing uses to continue.

The bylaw also contains wording that keeps camping spaces from being occupied by the same vehicle or tent for more than 30 days.

"The wording in question was included to ensure that the RV Park is operated as accommodation for tourists, and does not become permanent residential accommodation," an RMOW spokesperson said in an email.

Bylaw enforcement at the park is generally carried out on a complaints basis.

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