On Thursday, Carol Greenwood made her way down to the water at Curtis Point for a swim. She was shocked to find graffiti all over the rocks where people usually lay out their beach blankets. Upon further inspection, she and several other residents noticed a smell and concluded that the graffiti was written in fecal matter.
“I’d never seen anything like this,” said Greenwood. “It smelled and looked like poo.”
There were several words written all over the rocks, but the only word she could make out was “juicy.”
Greenwood isn’t sure, but she believes that the vandalism was carried out by pranksters and that the fecal matter might have come from the outhouse at the nearby community garden.
Greenwood also thinks the fecal matter way sprayed on the rocks as the lettering is quite even and covers a large surface area.
“I don’t know what the motive would be,” she said.
In an effort to get the graffiti cleaned up, Greenwood began making calls to Saanich Parks and Recreation, the Capital Regional District, Island Health and Hazmat through the Saanich fire department.
No one would take responsibility for the clean up, said Greenwood. She kept getting told to call other institutions.
This was distressing because she had concerns about the health risks. She put up signs to alert other beach-goers and spent a large part of her day trying to warn people who went to sit down on the rocks. Some headed her warnings, but others went on with their business. One woman just put grass over the graffiti and then lay out her blanket.
Greenwood feels that no one was sure who was responsible for cleaning it up because it’s not your average graffiti due to the bio hazards. She wants the situation dealt with, but she also wants it to be done properly.
It can’t be washed into the ocean as people swim there and bleach can’t be used as it could harm the local ecosystem, she said.
On Friday, Greenwood got a call saying that Public Works would handle the clean up. The representative she spoke with wasn’t sure which department would handle it, but Greenwood feels mostly confident that they’ll ensure it’s dealt with.
“The city needs a plan to deal with stuff like this quickly,” said Greenwood.
Public Works did not provide a comment on the incident, but a spokesperson from the District of Saanich confirmed that a report regarding the vandalism at Curtis Point was received at 10:46 a.m. on Friday. The spokesperson said that someone from Saanich Parks and Recreation was dispatched to clean it up shortly after.
The spokesperson didn’t say why no one seemed to know who was responsible for the clean up on Thursday, but they explained that when a complaint like this is received by Parks and Recreation or Public Works, the procedure is to send out a crew to clean it up in a timely manner.
As of Friday afternoon, the incident hadn’t been reported to Saanich Police. Det. Sgt. Damian Kowalewich said the vandalism is a criminal offence so he expects the police will be involved soon.