PICKERING -- There's no point in defacing CN property in Pickering, because it'll get covered up in no time, says Mayor Dave Ryan.
Graffiti along the Canadian National Rail Line's bridges and underpasses in Pickering was painted over last week and CN and the City of Pickering are working together to keep it clean.
"CN is committed to working with the municipality to clean up the graffiti on its rail infrastructure and working with community organizations like Crime Stoppers and Pickering's Eyes on the Street to ensure the graffiti does not return," said Jeff Liepelt, senior vice president, Eastern Region, CN.
CN introduced its Municipal Anti-Graffiti Program in Pickering Friday, choosing the city as its pilot project after Mayor Ryan had brought the situation to the attention of CN.
In April, not long after a train derailment in Pickering, Mayor Ryan met with the Minister of Transport and the Minister of State for Transport to discuss the situation, noting seven derailments in Durham Region in the past six years was unacceptable.
Mayor Ryan later met with CN representatives about his safety concerns, but also raised the issue of graffiti that's commonly found on visible CN property not only in Pickering, but throughout Canada. CN had committed at the time to work on an initiative to clean up the graffiti and prevent future vandalism on its property and, five months later, it's officially under way.
"We've completed pretty well all of Pickering," said CN spokesman Frank Binder, who added CN footed the bill.
CN property around Liverpool Road and Brock Road had been painted over, he said, and some more dangerous spots would be taken care of when it is safe.
"I don't consider this art; I consider it vandalism," Mr. Binder said.
Mr. Binder noted the vandalism was visible to anyone traveling along Hwy. 401 and into Pickering, making the entrance into the community unsightly.
Mayor Ryan said the program not only cleans up the spray-painted bridges and underpasses; it encourages the public to get involved in ensuring their community remains graffiti-free and safe.
"This is not a one-time effort," he said. "We have declared a full-time response to individuals who want to deface our community."
CN hopes the program will also increase safety around the tracks where trains travel at very high speeds.
"Trespassing on CN property is very illegal and dangerous," Mr. Liepelt said.
CN is calling upon the community to report trespassers to not only save the property, but maybe a life as well.
"It's important the public reports to us," said Mr. Binder.
Taken from: News Dur Ham Region
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