Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Playing Tag on Scott Road

Some weeks ago, a stretch of Scott Road was tagged extensively.

This small strip mall at Scott Road (120 Street) and  90 Avenue has been hit repeatedly with tagging in the past.

The businesses are responsible for clearing up this tagging, but it must get tiresome to paint over and over again.

Part of the problem in reporting these tags is that each location's vandalism is handled by a different agency. Garbage bins by the garbage company, BC Hydro boxes and poles by them, private owners for the buildings. What the city does, I don't know. I see by law officer cars driving around all the time, yet I don't see many by-laws being enforced. It's very difficult to see how the city is properly managing anything in this area.

This market has long been a target of tagging. This is one location I think a public mural with bright colors and detailed patterns would be attractive and would make it difficult for taggers to make an impression. Please visit the Street Art for Surrey Page for more info.
Sometimes when I walk along Scott Road  I feel I'm in a third world country. Especially when I go around behind the stores where the garbage is spread out and nothing is ever clean. 

When I take these photographs, I am very aware of the lone tall trees in the distance. They are a symbol to me of what Canada could be, but down here on this level, all I see is trash and vandalism.
 It's not the tags that really concern me. Yes, tagging is irritating, costly and ugly.

It's the community and business owner's ability to ignore the litter and vandalism around them. 
 It's the fact that trash and ugliness have become part of Surrey culture.

And no-ones cleaning it up. Not my neighbors, not the business owners, and not the city.
That's what bothers me.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Is 13 months too long?

It's 2013. Two thousand and thirteen. Twenty Thirteen.

I've been photographing garbage for 13 months. I could probably find 13 things that have remained in place for all that time. But that would make me obsessive and I have better things to do with my life. So here's a few items photographed 13 months ago, and how they appear now.

December 2011. A child's chair. Dumped next to Prince Charles Elementary, on Robson Park land, walked past by many many people on 100 Avenue every day.

January 2013. This chair is alongside a blocks worth of old carpet, dumped bundles of community newspapers, garbage bags full of who knows what, more fast food cups and a few dollars worth of cans and bottles.
December 2011. Same location, bag of gross hanging in a tree.

January 2013. The last time this stretch of land was cleared of trash was when I called sometime in the spring  or summer of 2011. It's park land. This means there must be no yearly regular maintenance of our park land.

December 2011. Sign in a ditch near my home. This real estate agent actually e-mailed me because I mentioned her by name in my blog. I told her where the sign was and that she could come pick it up any time.

January 2013. I never heard back and the sign is still there.

December 2011. Bajwa signs littered the roads for months. I e-mailed and twittered Mr. Bajwa but never heard back.

January 2013. At least one sign still remains.

December 2011. Vote YES. At a popular dump site that irked me into action and merited an article in the Leader.
January 2013. The property got mostly cleaned but YES is still there. Along with a new collection of dumped items, but that's another story.
I say Yes, 13 months is too long for garbage to lie around before anyone picks it up. It's time to Spring Clean Surrey!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday on a Foggy Surrey Corner

Sunday was an extremely foggy day around our house. I stepped out into the street wanting to take a pretty picture of the trees receding into the fog. But as usual...street litter was in my way. We pick up this 100 meters of road at least once a week, sometimes more often, but the flow of trash never ends.

Today I decided to photograph all of it. Ten fast food cups, multiple plastic straws, 1 milk-to-go, a golden party cup and a cigarette package.

Multiple bus passes, another cigarette package & plastic wrapping, too many cigarette butts to count.

One bag of leftovers from a takeout meal, gum & tootsie roll wrapping, burger wrapping and chip bag, 3 Tim Horton's lids and a foil wrapped package of unidentified food.

A plastic garbage bag, more than 2 rubber bands, a ziplock baggie, beer can, trojan packaging and several used tissues. Don't forget the rag that has been traveling down the street for weeks, now in front of my neighbors driveway.

A dump of seven plastic containers of old food, with the prime suspects being the basement renters across the street that just came back from a lengthy overseas trip. So I picked up all the garbage while that basement renter watched. I did not pick up the rag in my neighbors driveway.

I finally got to take my photo, but I have to say I'm unhappy that once again, I was the dupe forced to pick up after all those Surrey residents who trash our city. I'm also still looking for a good way to ask people to stop littering on this corner. It's our home and it's beautiful here, please Keep Canada Clean.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tag, you're it!

The City of Surrey is still making slow futile attempts to follow after taggers and cover or clean the vandalism left behind.

A recent flurry of activity in Newton affected at least three bus shelters... And again, days go by without any evidence of clean up.

It must be very gratifying to the taggers to create such long lasting impressions.

Tags in the past have been covered up with the ugliest flesh colored paint possible, giving the taggers a blank surface to tag once again. (Notice the tagged bustop in the background as well)

In some cases it's BC Hydro boxes. I've heard they are reluctant to spend the money on the photo covers that the city utility boxes are now using to prevent vandalism.

It seems almost every business in this area has had their streetside signs tagged.

Walls are painted in patchwork pieces of color, only to have them tagged again.

It seems no-one can find that old paint can that was saved to fix these problems, so they uglify their fences with painted squares, which are then again tagged. Click here for more posts on the tagging problem in Surrey.

Surrey needs graffiti prevention, not anti-graffiti measures. To me, anti-graffiti means futily chasing the taggers and covering over their stuff so they can tag again. Graffiti prevention means painting something attractive, with bright colors and complicated patterns that obscure attempted tags.

This spring I intend to get some public art created in Surrey at some of these locations where tagging is a problem. Please contact me if you are interested in working on a mural or two around Surrey this spring. Tag, you're it!
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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bird's nests & Balloons

It was 13 months ago I got frustrated enough to start carrying my camera and photographing all the litter and dumping around Surrey, hoping to make some noise and make some change. I now have a new camera and I'm rediscovering the fun of taking pictures. The good news is that Surrey has new organics, garbage and recycling bins. The bad news is I can still find plenty of trash to photograph.

13 months ago, I photographed a tangled mess of withered balloons and ribbons left up in the trees after an old marketing campaign. You know those perpetual Going out of Business / Moving sales that furniture stores love. You can see the originals here from Dec. 9th, 2011.
13 months later, the same plastic ribbons still festoon the trees. Virtually unchanged by a year of weather.

Now that the leaves have come off the trees, we can see the bird's nest that was built. At least the bird was able to make use of some of that ribbon.

But there is plenty left over that will soon be competing with the spring blossoms. 

It comes in Oh Canada Red and White.

It comes in Singing the Blues Blue.

It blows in the breeze and sparkles in the morning sunlight.

A good Spring Cleaning of Surrey before the blossoms and leaves appear would be a good concept to introduce for March. The next two months is when vegetation has died down, the garbage is very visible and the way is clear for easy access in garbage removal.
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