Bringing Back Chalk to Kipps Lane
Patricia O’Doherty never imagined her ISP would end up like this — “this” meaning a petition with over sixty signatures and the support of the mayor, all in favour of removing the ban against sidewalk chalk in her Kipps Lane community.
In April 2016, Kipps Lane announced that using sidewalk chalk in the area was banned, with fines up to $250 for repeat offenses. Their reasons? Profanity and explicit images being written in chalk, and that chalk was apparently very tough to clean off walls and fencing.
“I hated how we weren’t able to use chalk in the neighbourhood no more, and I was working on a Civics ISP — or, final project, at the same time, and a petition was part of the project. So, I sorta mixed the two and did the project on this to start, and just took it up a notch,” she says.
After creating her petition, Patricia quickly found it gaining support, but most surprisingly from the mayor himself, Matt Brown. He wasn’t able to sign the petition due to his position, but expressed interest and support. “What I expected was to be able to talk to him and see where his standing was, and I thought “You know what? If I can convince him to come to my side, that’s one more person on my side.”
And chalk, being, ‘’compacted dust’ as Patricia puts it, isn’t that difficult to clean off. “I myself have done my own experiments,” Patricia states. “I took a piece of chalk that was laying around in the neighbourhood, and I drew on the brick in my backyard. It came off really easy. I drew on the fencing surrounding my backyard. All I had to do to get it off was put my thumb over the end of the hose and power wash it. And I have never seen anyone with chalk writing any profanity or any inappropriate images. I’ve seen pen, I’ve seen marker, I’ve even seen spray paint. But I’ve never once seen chalk.”
Kipps Lane isn’t doing anything to combat it being written in pen or spray paint. “All they have done, to what I know, is wash it off.”
Ward 13 Councillor Tanya Park agrees with Patricia’s statement about the easiness of the chalk to remove. “I was pretty snarky about it, because I thought it was ridiculous,” Ms. Park stated. “It’s a temporary art installation that will wash away.”
“The goal of the petition is just to get chalk back to the little ones,” Patricia says. “Because it’s not fair to those who don’t know what’s going on, to talk away something that has made their lives fun for so many years. And as an older sibling here, who’s the oldest in the family, I can see how much they love using the chalk. I can see how much they miss it.”
You can sign the online copy of Patricia’s petition at https://www.change.org/p/patricia-o-doherty-bring-back-chalk