The City of Calgary is taking an artistic approach to curbing vandalism at the Peace Bridge.
Through a creative campaign aimed at reducing intentional damage to the bridge, the City of Calgary invited Calgarians to take a look at the Vandalism Gallery.
According to the bridge’s maintenance manager, Charmaine Buhler, there have been an increased number of vandalism incidents to the Peace Bridge’s glass panels.
Buhler said the damages, which cost $80,000 per year, are from people throwing rocks at the bridge from the east riverbed. Buhler said that these incidents increase during summertime.
Area Coun. Terry Wong said the city doesn’t want to see the ongoing expense to repair the glass.
“The Peace Bridge is an icon for our destination, tourists sort-of attraction,” said the Ward 7 councillor.
Earlier Thursday, the city installed several “works of art” that have been vandalized on the Peace Bridge. They want to remind people that use it and those in the area that it’s a piece of art and like the hanging pieces, it’s to be admired, not vandalized.
“In doing that, we want to maintain the appearance of a quality feature that the Peace Bridge is for us,” said Wong.
One of the messages on the hanging “works of art” asks people to call 911 if they witness acts of vandalism.
“We are also hoping it will encourage people to report suspicious behaviour and vandalism-in-progress to police,” said Buhler.
According to the city, with the cost to replace the panels each year, there’s a possibility of using alternate materials other than glass for the panels on the Peace Bridge.
However, according to Wong, the glass panels serve a purpose and are an important aspect of the bridge.
“It adds a different dimension of appearance to the bridge,” said Wong.
“Whether it’s first thing in the morning, the end of the day, nighttime, people who take pictures, particularly at night time, will see the way in which the glass reflects the lighting inside and how it accentuates the downtown core.”
According to the city, the gallery is just one piece of a larger effort to decrease the vandalism of the Peace Bridge.