Barrie bylaw has change of heart over girl's Canadian flag chalk art
BARRIE, ONT. -- A Barrie family is thankful for the community support after the City of Barrie apologized for issuing a bylaw warning demanding the removal of a Canadian flag painted on the end of their driveway on city property.
The city issued a statement on Friday. It reads in part, "The city issued a warning to the property owner (not the child), but after further investigation, it was determined that given the nature of the infraction, City Enforcement Services staff will revoke the warning."
City staff said a complaint was called in about the chalk art painting, prompting a bylaw officer to investigate the claim.
The city's change of heart has left 10-year-old Kayla van Kessel smiling.
The Barrie girl painted the Canadian flag on a chunk of grass at the end of their property to celebrate Canada Day.
Erin van Kessel said she was sitting outside her north-end Barrie home Thursday morning when a bylaw officer handed her a warning.
The Barrie resident was told she would have to remove chalk art of a Canadian flag drawn by her 10-year-old daughter to celebrate Canada Day.
"2004-142-2," recited van Kessel, while looking over the document citing her infraction. The city's bylaw for that particular code refers to the use of public property.
"No person shall throw, drop, place, or otherwise deposit garbage, paper, paper or plastic products, cans, rubbish, or other debris on any city property unless authorized by the city," she read.
Van Kessel said large green plastic objects, which may have been children's items left at the curb near the end of her driveway, did not belong to her.
The issue with the chalk art, however, has left her disappointed.
Van Kessel was told by the bylaw officer someone had complained about the chalk art spray painted on the lawn at the end of her driveway.
The chunk of grass, painted red and white, is city property.
"They couldn't really say why. I mean, mostly because it is on city property, but really?" said van Kessel in response to the bylaw violation.
Van Kessel was told she had 24 hours to remove her daughter's chalk painting from the lawn or face a potential fine.
Van Kessel said her daughter is distraught and doesn't understand why it needs to be removed.
"Not too happy," said van Kessel. "Because she did put a lot of work into it, and now we have to remove it. It's a child doing something exciting when she's been stuck in the house for four months, and no school, no friends, so what more is there to do?"
The City of Barrie confirmed a complaint was made, and a bylaw officer visited the home, providing the following statement to CTV News:
"The city's enforcement services received and responded to a complaint about individuals painting on city property.
Bylaw officers are obligated to investigate and respond to all complaints received. While the homeowner advised that the paint was washable, the officer was unable to confirm if it was or not, which was why the property owner was warned that they had 24 hours to remove it from the city's boulevard.
A warning was issued to the property owner, not the child."
Van Kessel said she does intend to remove the artwork.
"I guess other people don't appreciate it or look at it the same way we do," she said.
"What can you do? I guess it's the way of the world these days."