After spending much of today debating, sometimes heatedly, council has just passed a new graffiti policy that contains no startling new measures, and whose passage was confident from the outset. In fact, it passed unanimously. The new policy streamlines the implementation of current policies rather than taking council in a substantially new direction. Significantly, business owners will still be responsible for removing graffiti from their properties when instructed by the City to do so. Adam Vaughan introduced a motion calling for the specific protection of graffiti alley, near Queen and Spadina; that passed by a vote of 24-17.
The length of the debate was in part attributed to councillors who support cycling, apparently trying to buy time for cycling activists to make their way to City Hall, so that they could be present for the forthcoming debate on removing bike lanes on Jarvis, Pharmacy, and Birchmount. That cycling item was expected to be discussed tomorrow; when it was decided this morning that it would be moved up the agenda, cyclists tried to rapidly mobilize and fill the council chamber. (By press time, they had done a good job of accomplishing this.)
Highlights of the debate included Giorgio Mammoliti contending that most graffiti consists of “gang signs,” much to the audience’s amusement, and Adam Vaughan’s speech, made to the backdrop of the above “Remove Me” graffiti, projected on a screen at least 10 feet high.