Some examples of spray-painted graffiti found by Fort Langley resident Bryan Miller, who is scheduled to appear before Langley Township council on March 8, 2021, to argue for a bylaw that would restrict spray paint sales to minors (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Some examples of spray-painted graffiti found by Fort Langley resident Bryan Miller, who is scheduled to appear before Langley Township council on March 8, 2021, to argue for a bylaw that would restrict spray paint sales to minors (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Spray paint restrictions pondered by Township council

Council will hear from staff about whether limiting sales to kids could reduce graffiti

Langley Township council will consider restricting access to spray paint for teenagers after hearing from Fort Langley’s Bryan Miller on Monday, March 8.

Miller said the graffiti and litter are becoming serious issues in Langley.

“It just makes our community look horrible,” he said during a Monday afternoon virtual council meeting.

The increasing graffiti Miller says he’s seeing is linked to Langley’s growth, he said.

“I think 20 years ago, we had different problems, and now we have city problems.”

His proposed solution is one he’s already been promoting via an online petition – limit access to spray paint to those over 18, and have stores keep it locked up or behind the counter to make it harder to shoplift.

It won’t solve the problem entirely, but Miller believes it will reduce the amount of tagging around the community considerably.

The petition garnered 73 supporters, but council was largely receptive to the idea as well.

READ MORE: Age limit for spray paint sales would reduce graffiti, Fort Langley petition organizer says

Miller noted that some other Canadian cities and a number of U.S. states have similar rules for selling spray paint.

Some stores, such as Michael’s craft stores, already keep their spray paint secured to deter theft, Miller added.

Asked by Councillor Petrina Arnason about positive uses of spray paint – in murals and public art projects – Miller said there could be programs for kids to use art in that way.

He noted there are “Spray Your Park, Not Your Community” programs elsewhere that allow kids to spray paint murals and art at skateboard parks and other designated locations.

Ultimately, he said he’s worried about “deterioration” of the community.

Coun. Bob Long was skeptical about how much a spray paint ban has worked in other communities.

“And frankly, some of the most prolific taggers are over the age of 18,” Long said.

He did urge people to work with the Township on graffiti and trash removal.

“If you see graffiti, phone it in,” he said.

Coun. David Davis was supportive of taking action but cautious about how successful it would be at stopping vandals from getting paint.

“If you can’t get cigarettes, you get them somewhere,” he noted.

Coun. Kim Richter was enthusiastic about the idea of age restrictions and more securing of paint in stores, and she asked that staff consider Miller’s proposal. Council unanimously referred the matter to staff for a future report.

Long said staff also needs to consider what is in place now to prevent or remove graffiti.

“We’ve got lots of initiatives that are already underway, why are they not working for Mr. Miller or others?” he said.

Staff will present a report to council at a future meeting.

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