Graffiti Days theme defended

Cache Creek councillor suggests dumping the town's Graffiti Days theme from the Official Community Plan.

Cache Creek Council gave the first two of three readings needed to adopt the revised Official Community Plan (OCP) at its Feb. 12 meeting, but only after an unexpected discussion initiated by Coun. Herb Hofer of whether the Village should dump its graffiti theme.

All BC municipalities are required to have an OCP and to revise it about every five years. The new OCP updates the 1998 plan with minor changes that mostly reflect changes in provincial policy as well as local policy. It includes land use policies, Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Strategy, Development Permit Areas and also the municipality’s “vision”.

The vision in the OCP refers to  “A Nifty Fifties ‘Graffiti’ theme” that has been adopted by the Village to reflect the importance of the service sector. In the Development Permit Areas section, it says “Every effort should be made to incorporate a ‘graffiti days’ theme in the construction of new or the renovation of existing buildings…” There are also specific references to the use of neon – which has been changed to LED lights – on businesses downtown, which were also in the old OCP.

Hofer felt the requirements to follow the graffiti theme was restricting the downtown business people when, in fact, “everything should be done to eliminate restrictions and make it easier.”

“I can’t do what I want to do with my own business?” he asked. “We can’t afford to be that way in these times. We’re in dire straits. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have it in there.”

It doesn’t matter where you live, said Coun. Darrell Rawcliffe, there are always requirements for any building permit.

“If we’re going to abandon the graffiti theme,” says Mayor John Ranta, “it should be a resolution of council rather than an amendment to the OCP.”

The Village officially adopted graffiti days as its community theme in 1990, he said. “A fundamental resolution to eliminate the graffiti theme is worth considering if that’s what you want to do.”

“I’m not going to lie down in front of the bulldozers if you guys want to carry on,” said Hofer.

“The only way to find out if Council wants to abandon the graffiti theme is to make a resolution,” repeated Ranta. “Unless Council endorses it, I can’t see abandoning it,” he said.

Coun. Wyatt McMurray said he agreed with Hofer in that as a businessman, he didn’t like others telling him what he could do in his own business. “But it happens everywhere.”

He added that he has visited towns that have themes and enforce them much more strongly than Cache Creek does, “and they are real tourist attractions. “I don’t think we go far enough,” he said, adding that he liked the graffiti theme and wouldn’t support dropping it.

“I’d like to stay with the program,” agreed Coun. Rawcliffe.

The OCP bylaw  passed its first two readings unanimously and now goes to a public hearing before Council decides if any changes are necessary before they adopt it.

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