A call to the City of Kamloops from a nonprofit that works to keep the community graffiti-free, saying it wants to see its program funded year-round.
The Kamloops Graffiti Task Force Society is a non-profit organization that currently operates in conjunction with the City of Kamloops, however, most of its funding comes from grants and donations.
Addressing a City Council committee meeting, company chairman Ronnie Bouvier noted that the city only funds their work from January until the end of October, saying that for the past two years they have done their work for free. in November and December.
“I don’t know if we can do it this year because we have so many programs going on, but we will do our best,” Bouvier said.
“Our last funding check comes in October and we run from mid-January to mid-December because the vandals don’t take a break, they don’t care what the weather is like, so they’re out there destroying it, they don’t care if it’s 30 or 50 below or if their paint is leaking or something.
Bouvier notes that in addition to keeping the city clean, they also help those struggling to fit into society.
“We are kind of like a mini social service agency in practice and do a lot of things, we believe that anyone who wants to contribute to the community and be employed in it is an opportunity, we just have to understand what it is and we will work with you.
One man specifically hired on the team, as Bouvier explains, was told he could never work because he has autism and social anxiety. Bouvier adds that after meeting him, they discovered that he loves making videos, which is exactly what he does for the company.
“We started him a Graffiti Task Force Youtube channel and he hangs out with the staff now and myself, has direct eye contact, loves what he does. His anxiety is still quite high and he doesn’t see himself as ‘special’ anymore, so I think that’s important.”
Additionally, Bouvier says they are in the process of purchasing a high-pressure washing machine, which will allow them to work longer during the winter months.
“We hope to bring some of the businesses that are so hard hit by COVID back on board so we can do some cleaning for them because COVID has hit everyone and businesses are really hurting and it breaks my heart to have to charge them . So I prefer to work with them and find a solution to clean it once and do a big sweep and see how we can maintain it.
Bouvier also says they hope to purchase anti-graffiti liner in bulk, to put on the walls of city restrooms, which in turn will allow graffiti on the walls to be wiped off easily with a damp cloth.
So far this year, Bouvier says the company has cleaned the equivalent of 2.5 NFL football fields of graffiti in Kamloops.
-With files by Abby Zieverink