Burnaby mural gets community graffiti cleanup

Volunteer Naomi Kawase works to clean off graffiti Friday on
Volunteer Naomi Kawase works to clean off graffiti Friday on 'Connected Oceans,' a community mural project by artist Todd Polich located on Beresford Street by Royal Oak Avenue.
— image credit: Wanda Chow/NewsLeader

The community came out on a sunny Friday afternoon to help local artist Todd Polich clean up two of his Burnaby murals recently hit by graffiti.

About a half dozen volunteers were helping out at "Connected Oceans," a mural depicting humpback whales on Beresford Street near Royal Oak Avenue. An hour into the effort, people continued to approach Polich asking how they could lend a hand.

Most of the vandalism was coming off relatively easily, thanks to an anti-graffiti coating he had applied. But one section would have to be repainted, Polich said. That's where it had been hit by graffiti months earlier and after he had cleaned it up, didn't get around to re-applying the special coating.

LEFT: Volunteers Gary Lam, left, and Allan Johanson clean off graffiti Friday on "Connected Oceans," a community mural project by artist Todd Polich located on Beresford Street by Royal Oak Avenue.
Wanda Chow/NewsLeader

But he took it all in stride. In addition to repainting the vandalized section, he planned to make additions—a shark here, a turtle there.

Even Burnaby RCMP Chief Supt. Dave Critchley paid a visit as a show of support.

Burnaby Mounties continue to investigate, working with Transit Police and police in Vancouver and New Westminster, to identify those responsible for the vandalism, he said. "I'm confident we are working towards a successful conclusion on this investigation."

Critchley noted that Burnaby city hall is a big supporter of anti-graffiti programs. In addition to a city staff person dedicated to the issue, Burnaby RCMP has the only police officer in B.C. who works full-time on graffiti investigations and prevention, he said. That officer, Const. Shelby Murphy, was also helping out in the cleanup Friday.

"One of the first symptoms of a community with ills is graffiti," Critchley said.

"This is a community project that's been defaced by someone. As a community we're saying we don't accept that."

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