Vandalism Gallery now open at Peace Bridge
This summer, Calgarians are being invited to the “Vandalism Gallery” at the Peace Bridge through a new, creative campaign aimed at reducing intentional damage to the bridge.
“In recent years, we have seen an increase in vandalism to the Peace Bridge’s glass panels, mainly from people throwing rocks at the bridge from the east riverbed,” says Charmaine Buhler, Bridge Maintenance Manager. “These incidents tend to increase in the summer months, so we wanted to do something to raise awareness and encourage people to look after this piece of art.”
Today, several hanging “works of art” that have been vandalized, will be installed at the Peace Bridge. The campaign concept reinforces the fact that the Peace Bridge is more than a bridge − it’s a work of art and an iconic landmark.
“By creating a gallery of vandalized artwork on the Peace Bridge, we’ll remind the people who use it, and live in the neighbourhood, that artwork is something to be admired, not vandalized,” Buhler added. “We are also hoping it will encourage people to report suspicious behaviour and vandalism-in-progress to police.”
The gallery is just one piece of a larger effort to decrease vandalism of the Peace Bridge including daily security patrols, security cameras and taking a new approach to offenders by using the court system to recover costs.
With an average of six panels broken every year, The City is also investigating the possibility of using alternate materials other than glass for the panels on the Peace Bridge.
It costs roughly $80,000 a year to remove and replace the broken panels. This does not include the cost of the panels themselves as The City has been using replacement panels that were provided when the bridge was first built.
“We have hired a consultant and they are currently looking at alternate materials to give us options. We expect recommendations in the fall,” said Buhler.
“At the end of the day, vandalism to the bridge costs us all and it is an unnecessary expensive. So, we are really hoping this campaign will decrease these incidents of vandalism and increase reporting.”
Anyone who witnesses Peace Bridge vandalism-in-progress is encouraged to call 911.