Monday, October 15, 2012 – 2:38 PM
By Natasha Riebe
Cowichan Valley

The controversy on graffiti in Duncan is expected to continue Monday night when a contingent of people from the Duncan Garage and neighbouring groups present a petition at City Hall.

Council is also expected to discuss whether the word ‘community’, painted in big pink and purple letters between the Garage and the Phoenix Pub on Duncan St., should be painted over.

At least four councillors believe it should be, in part because the people who put it up did so without a development permit from the city.

Councillor Sharon Jackson said the debate is not about the quality of the artwork.

“This is not about the mural, it’s never been about the mural,” she said. “It’s about the process.”

She said if council were to let one person contravene a by-law, then it opens it up for a future free-for-all.

“Anybody could come to us and say, ‘Alright, she didn’t have to obey a by-law or they didn’t have to obey a by-law, why can’t I do backyard burning? Why can’t I have a cow in my backyard?’“

One local resident, Richelle McKechnie, wants the graffiti to stay believes the owner of the Community Farm Store, Nicolette Genier, should have gotten the proper permit before letting her son paint the mural.

“I really wish she had because then no one would have to be dealing with this, this dispute of whether to keep it or not.”

Genier said she believes it would have taken too long for city council to approve the mural, if indeed it were to be approved at all.

The graffiti art not only contravenes the city’s development permit by-law, it also falls under the city’s unsightly premises by-law.

Council is expected to decide Monday night whether the graffiti will be painted over.