A downtown Vernon heritage building on 30th Avenue was decorated with unwanted graffiti by an unknown individual, though he/she did ‘sign’ their work. The incident happened overnight March 5 to 6. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

A downtown Vernon heritage building on 30th Avenue was decorated with unwanted graffiti by an unknown individual, though he/she did ‘sign’ their work. The incident happened overnight March 5 to 6. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)

Downtown Vernon graffiti upsets heritage building owner

Reiner Stass received unsolicited ‘art’ on his 30th Avenue building and is left to foot the bill

He didn’t ask for it. He doesn’t want it.

But Reiner Stass is now responsible for removing a piece of unsolicited artwork painted on the side of his downtown Vernon heritage building.

Stass, a longtime Vernon realtor, is the owner of the former MacKenzie Men’s Wear building in the 3200-block of 30th Avenue, now home to an interior design boutique on the lower floor and a tattoo parlour upstairs.

He was alerted by a tenant of the building that sometime overnight on March 5 and 6, as somebody climbed onto the roof of the neighbouring business and drew some graffiti on Stass’ antique brick building.

“I’m really frustrated,” Stass said. “(Graffiti-tagging) is an issue that’s getting worse in downtown on top of all the other problems associated with downtown. It costs people dearly.”

The City of Vernon’s graffiti bylaw, established in 2006, says each owner and occupant is required at all times to maintain graffiti-free walls, fences, buildings or structures located on the property. This applies to any part of the property that could be viewed by a neighbour.

In other words, if Stass wanted to keep the graffiti, he would have sought approval from city hall. If not, he is responsible for its removal. He figures the cost will be around $2,000 to $3,000.

“Whoever is the ‘artist,’ he or she seems to know what to do, but they should still respect the property,” Stass said.

The artwork is “signed,” which is the artist’s way of letting people know it’s his or her work and wants to be recognized for it, as pointed out by Rachael Zubick, the City of Vernon’s community safety co-ordinator for public programs.

Asked what recourses a building owner has, Zubick sighed and admitted graffiti and tagging is a worldwide issue.

“You have to catch them in the act,” she said. “Install camera systems, get pictures of them that clearly identify them. If you want to press charges against the individual, Crown counsel will need things like this to even consider going ahead with charges.”

Zubick said the difference between the so-called artwork taggers are painting and other graffiti-inspired artworks, technically, is permission.

If a building owner wants to have the side of a building painted, similar to the murals that decorate the downtown core, they must get permission from the city to do so. If they don’t have permission, it’s an offence. It’s vandalism.

Zubick’s department oversees an anti-tagging team, which returned in the summer months of 2019 after several years on hiatus.

The team, made up of university students, will be in place at the end of May and the program running this summer starting in June.

They are able to help remove unwanted graffiti as long as the building owner provides the equipment needed. But it also depends on the surface.

Antique bricks, like the ones on Stass’ building, will likely not be eligible for the team to remove graffiti from, nor will the team go up a ladder.

Stass is offering a reward for any information about the graffiti on his building. He can be reached via email at chlvernon@shaw.ca.

READ MORE: Vernon police nab two after a string of parking meter thefts

READ MORE: Vernon resident petitions for free parking


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at Vernon’s BX Elementary School. (Kerry Hutter photo)
Second COVID case confirmed at Vernon elementary school

Exposure at BX Elementary happened April 6 and 7

Highway 97 being converted to four lanes in April 1990. This photo taken in Lake Country. (Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Photo #14025)
HISTORY: How the old Highway 97 in Lake Country got new name

Pelmewash Parkway recognizes the First Nations history in Lake Country

Salmon Arm Silverbacks defenceman Kieran Ruscheinski (right) sticks close to Vernon Vipers forward Logan Lorenz during Salmon Arm’s 2-1 overtime win in B.C. Hockey League pod play Saturday, April 10, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers Photography)
Mack attack paces Salmon Arm Silverbacks past Vernon

Sullivan Mack scores both goals, including beautiful OT winner, in Gorillas’ 2-1 BCHL pod play win over Snakes

Paddlewheel Park off Okanagan Landing Road, Vernon. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looks to address parking shortage at Paddlewheel Park

City staff are looking into short, medium and long-term overflow parking options

WATCH: A Royal procession through Vernon, 1959

Prince Philip, who died April 9 at 99, visited Vernon on a tour of Canada in 1959

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Most Read