Unfinished Turcot Interchange already facing influx of graffiti taggers
Published Tuesday, July 30, 2019 8:36PM EDT
The new Turcot Interchange is still a year away from completion but the components that have been erected have already been repeatedly vandalized by graffiti.
“We can clean it on a Wednesday and a few days later it’ll be back because it’s a very nice place to put graffiti, I guess,” said Transport Quebec spokesperson Gilles Payer.
Payer said Transport Quebec spends between $50,000 and $80,000 a year cleaning up infrastructure in Montreal. But graffiti tags only get removed between May and October.
City councillor Sterling Downey, who also founded the Under Pressure graffiti festival, said more can be done to remove graffiti tagging.
“It hasn’t been removed systematically,” he said. “It’s been left and it’s accumulating. It’s giving visibility.”
Muralist Jason Botkin said the Turcot, with its brand new structures in a high traffic area, can present a perfect target for taggers.
“The Turcot is a brand new and beautiful canvas,” he said. “We can expect that it will be hit in an ongoing way.”
Tagging has been deadly in the past. In 2010 three teenagers were killed by a train in the Turcot Yards while tagging but Botkin said taggers are used to the risks.
“There’s danger but there’s nowhere else to go to practice this craft without assuming some layer of danger,” he said.
Botkin pointed to Toronto as a city that’s integrated graffiti into the urban landscape, including an outdoor art gallery that’s become a popular tourist destination.
“They’ve opened up a huge amount of their back alley real estate and they have this incredible industry that’s emerged from that,” he said.
Botkin said the new interchange presents a chance to beautify grey concrete by allowing artists to create murals but Payer said Transport Quebec plans to cover up any graffiti on the Turcot.
“The project is to make some landscapes, trees to make the drawings less visible,” he said.