It appears someone in Kelowna has reached a boiling point regarding the province’s coronavirus restrictions.
On Tuesday morning, two large messages opposing COVID-19 measures were spray-painted on city hall.
The first statement, in black capital letters, said “NO NEW NORMAL COVID IS A PLANDEMIC”.
Kelowna’s mayor called the vandalism frustrating and said it will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars to clean up.
“Certainly everybody deserves the right to protest, but to do so peacefully, and not by committing a crime, which is what happened last night,” Mayor Colin Basran said.
“I think people need to recognize that the provincial government is in charge of pandemic response— not municipal governments — so the protest is a little bit misguided.”
The city said the vandalism occurred sometime between the evening of Oct. 26 and the early morning of Oct. 27.
The main entrance floor to city hall was also spray-painted.
The incident was reported to police, who have launched an investigation.
“This investigation is in its infancy,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy. “This behaviour is criminal and we will be following all leads to determine who did this graffiti.”
The graffiti appeared a day after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced another restriction following a spike in COVID-19 cases: a limit on gatherings in private homes to no more than your immediate household plus your “safe six.”
Several rallies have been held in the Okanagan protesting coronavirus lockdown measures.
In August, more than 160 people gathered at one rally. A flyer promoting the event said “hugs allowed and no masks required.”
“Why have they locked down our economy, why have they shut down all elective surgeries,” David Lindsey, one of the event’s speakers, told Global News at the time.
Wearing a black facemask, Dave Mathieson added “Defacing public property is absolutely brutal. There are so many ways to get your opinion out without messing up city hall.”
Another resident, Jesse Arnup, also panned the graffiti, calling it ridiculous.
“This act of vandalism is not something that should be tolerated in our society at all,” said Arnup. “It shouldn’t be allowed whatsoever.”
Regarding the message, Arnup said “it’s pretty ignorant. The facts are out there that COVID is spreading quite rapidly throughout our society, and we have to do what we have to do to try and stop it.”
– with files from Klaudia Van Emmerik and Megan TurcatoView link »