‘It’s kind of useless’: Edmonton business owner frustrated after store targeted by tagging

An Edmonton business owner is comparing graffiti to peeing on private property after his store was vandalized this weekend.

Michael Kalmanovitch owns Earth’s General Store on Whyte Avenue and 96th Street, which he said was graffitied Friday night.

Kalmanovitch said he appreciates meaningful street art, but the paint on his store’s exterior resembles tagging, where people spray paint their name or initials.

“It’s not respectful and it’s not appreciated,” he said.

“It’s kind of like urinating to mark your boundary of your territory or something like that, or to say ‘I’ve been here.’ It’s kind of useless.”

This sign was painted by one of Kalmanovitch’s friends, who has since passed away. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Large white tags were painted on the solar panels attached to the south wall of the grocery store. Kalmanovitch said he hopes the $15,000 panels can be salvaged with a simple paint remover.

Two walls were also vandalized, along with a sign that displays the store’s name in the leaves of a painted tree. The work of art was painted by local artist Shelley Wales, and holds a lot of sentiment for Kalmanovitch.

“It’s my only memory of her because she actually died seven years ago. And somebody graffitied the bottom of that sign,” he said, noting he hopes another artist can paint over the graffiti.

Adara Hair and Body Studio, in the same shopping complex, was also affected by the vandalism.

A costly crime

These vandalized solar panels cost thousands of dollars. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Kalmanovitch estimated having all of the graffiti removed professionally could cost up to $1,000.

“I can’t afford that. I’m a small business person. And $1,000 is a lot of money to me,” he said, adding that the store has been the target of graffiti in the past, but not to this extent.

“We’re a grocery store, we don’t have very large margins. So when we have to put out money to clean that vandalism up, then I suffer financially quite a bit.”

Kalmanovitch said the tagging has been reported to the city, which recommends removing graffiti as quickly as possible.

“Graffiti begets graffiti,” he said. “So if you have one wall that has some graffiti on it, it’s very much likely that other people come along and start tagging it as well.”

A city representative could not be reached for comment, but the city’s graffiti management website notes tagging isn’t considered an art form. The city says tagging makes up 94 per cent of graffiti in Edmonton.



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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