Power company wraps up graffiti
FortisAlberta introduces new docorative wrap for utility boxes
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 22, 2012 06:00 am
The dull green appearance of FortisAlberta’s large switching cubicles has been given a botanical-themed touch-up, the company and city announced Friday.
Approximately 20 of the large boxes are now wrapped in a special product that not only allows the company to decorate the cubicles with one of two different designs, the wrap also helps deter graffiti as well as making any graffiti easier to remove.
“We’re hoping that people in the community will like them and it will deter people from actually tagging them,” said Dora L’Heureux, stakeholder relations manager for FortisAlberta.
The pilot project was initially launched in Strathcona County with artist-drawn wraps, but was expanded to several different Alberta communities. The company is wrapping about 100 boxes and will evaluate whether or not they do deter graffiti.
“It takes up a lot of time and resources where we could be doing other things than that,” L’Heureux said of the impact of graffiti on its infrastructure. “We could be doing maintenance and more customer-driven stuff rather than cleaning up after being tagged with graffiti. And sometimes the words and the graffiti on it are not very palatable.”
FortisAlberta’s project comes three months after the city announced it was wrapping five of its utility boxes in a wrap that both denied space to would-be vandals as well as made graffiti easier to clean. The city also incorporated a botanic design in its wrap.
FortisAlberta and the city settled on two designs – one featuring dewy leaves and grasses, the other featuring poppies.
“It’s a form of art,” Mayor Nolan Crouse said. “Will people want to deface art? We’ll see.”
While the exact number wasn’t known, FortisAlberta has at least 700 cubicles in St. Albert, if not more, L’Heureux said.
Crouse was happy to see a third party clean up its infrastructure. The city is working on a policy that will require companies with infrastructure located on public property – such as Shaw and Telus – to take all reasonable steps to maintain the appearance of their boxes and cubicles.
Crouse estimated there are still 100 rusted, metal, damaged boxes in the community. Sitting in front of FortisAlberta’s poppy-themed cubicle near the provincial courthouse was a small plastic box, which Crouse admitted was an improvement from the gunmetal grey boxes that have been common. But it is difficult to tell to which company the box belongs.
“They haven’t done anything relative to branding yet. I think for Telus and Shaw, that’s way off,” Crouse said.