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TAG team is taking on graffiti in PoCo

A neighbourhood eyesore is getting a clean-up thanks to the efforts of some Port Coquitlam teens.

A neighbourhood eyesore is getting a clean-up thanks to the efforts of some Port Coquitlam teens.

This Saturday, members of TAG (Teens Against Graffiti) will be teaming up with the RCMP and local community and civic groups to paint a fence dividing Meridian Village and Birchland elementary school.

Chris Eastman, a youth program assistant with the city of Port Coquitlam, said as many as 30 youths and 20 residents of the complex, which is owned by Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, will be painting over the graffiti-marked fence at 3156 Coast Meridian Rd. in an effort to spruce up the neighbourhood and build community bonds.

"It's all about forming partnerships," said Eastman, whose anti-graffiti youth group has been involved in removing over 1,700 illegal tags in the city.

A similar "paint-out" was held at the PoCo FC Soccer Association headquarters at Minnekhada field, which eliminated 117 tags. The association provided the paint and supplies and 13 PoCo youth volunteered their time, Eastman said.

For this "paint out," Metro Vancouver's media department will be on site to cover the story for a segment of GVTV, an online video program, and will feature the adults and youths working together. Metro Vancouver Housing has arranged to provide the paint and equipment, and will also provide pizza and drinks for the TAG participants.

Eastman said the project, which also involves the community police and the RCMP's anti-graffiti task force, is helping to clean up graffiti so it doesn't get out of hand.

"The point is to get rid of it as quickly as possible," Eastman said, with the idea being that taggers will eventually stop because no one sees their work. "It's kind of a battle of wills."

People wishing to make a complaint about graffiti are urged to visit their local community police station or call the RCMP's non-emergency line at 604-945-1550. With a file number from police, they'll be issued a voucher they can redeem at any General Paint store for a discount on paint. For more information on this program go to www.coquitlam.rcmp.ca.

To find out more about PoCo Youth Services, Teens Against Graffiti and other programs, visit www.pocoyouth.com/Youth_Stuff/Volunteer.htm

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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