MEDIA RELEASE: Graffiti-Resistant Utility Box Wraps Brighten Downtown

PORT COQUITLAM, BC – June 3, 2021… Utility boxes around downtown Port Coquitlam are getting a makeover, with their typical bland paint covered with beautiful local scenes on graffiti-resistant vinyl.

Port Coquitlam’s Community Police Station has teamed up with the City’s arts and culture staff to wrap utility boxes in the downtown with local photography on vinyl coated with a laminate that eases the removal of graffiti. Through a partnership with BC Hydro and the Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association, the first five boxes were wrapped last month with photos by Michel Obadia, Eric Koch, Joanna Szypulska, Rhea Hayes and Ann-Marie Neely.

“This project has so many positive elements – it not only supports local artists and brightens up our downtown, but it also reduces instances of graffiti, which has been a focus for the city,” Mayor Brad West said. “We appreciate the financial support of our partners to assist in this community improvement project.”

More downtown utility boxes will be wrapped in late summer by BC HYDRO, for a total of 17 of the graffiti-resistant boxes this year. More may be added in the future, by the City as funding allows.

Utility boxes are prone to frequent tagging, making them unsightly features in the civic landscape and creating significant ongoing removal costs. Vinyl wrapping has proven successful in reducing the incidence of graffiti while helping to beautify the community and promote local artists.

The first set of wraps can be found in the following locations:

  • 2300 Lions Way (Lions Park): “Fallen Leaves Port Coquitlam Cemetery” by Michel Obadia
  • 2850 Shaughnessy St.: Red Leaves “Fall Flowers” by Ann-Marie Neely
  • 2657 Shaughnessy St.: “Cherry Blossoms” by Rhea Hayes
  • Kingsway Avenue / Maple Street: “Collage of Rock Art by Artists Young and Old” by Eric Koch
  • Elgin Avenue / Maple Street: “Bee flying Over Lavender Sherling Avenue” by Joanna Szypulska

“This is a beautiful way to help deter graffiti in our downtown,” said Cllr. Steve Darling, Council’s designate for community safety. “We know that removing tags within the first 72 hours reduces the chance they will reappear. We hope by using modern technology vandals will be deterred from breaking the law.”

The images for this year’s wraps were selected from artwork submitted by local photographers for City projects such as street and facility banners and the annual Community Calendar & Waste Collection Schedule.

One touching story that emerged from the project relates to the newly wrapped box at Lions Park. Obadia had taken the photo at Port Coquitlam Cemetery while visiting his son, who had passed away to cancer as a teenager. Lions Park was a special place for the father and son, and therefore a fitting location for the photo.

The project augments a number of previously wrapped boxes around the community, completed over the years in collaboration with utility providers and other community partners.

Residents may submit their scenic photos of Port Coquitlam to at any time to potentially be used in future City publications and projects. Size and resolution requirements and other details are included on the webpage.

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Ximena Ibacache
Acting Manager of Communications
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5499