Traffic stop at ferry terminal after graffiti appears on PAB infrastructure
By Jaymie White
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
PORT AUX BASQUES – On the Southwest coast, graffiti isn’t something that happens as frequently as in larger urban centres like St. John’s. There have been some reported incidents.
Back in 2021, graffiti and other acts of vandalism were an issue for the Railway Heritage Museum when the train that sits outside the building was both defaced and broken into.
Last week, another act of vandalism was committed in an highly visible area where tourists are obliged to pass when driving to and from the Marine Atlantic ferry.
On Sunday evening, May 29, one area resident spotted a man using spray paint to graffiti a concrete wall on the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) as it passes outside of Port Aux Basques, and documented the act.
The man photographed was 55-year-old John Duprey of Nova Scotia. He was apprehended by RCMP at the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal later that same night and charged with damage to property under $5000, a criminal charge of mischief.
Mischief under $5000 is a criminal offence covering damage to property and when a person commits mischief, they would either wilfully destroy or damage property, render the property dangerous, useless or ineffective, obstruct or interfere with its use, or interfere with any person in the use of the property.
Because the damage to property is classified as under $5000, if found guilty, Duprey could face imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
Town Manager Leon MacIsaac,said he first became aware of the graffiti around 9:00 p.m. later that same night.
“It was on the drop mantle system we have along the TCH that comes off High Street.”
MacIsaac said that due to the location, the graffiti would be easily seen by any passing motorist, something that would be unappealing.
“It’s highly visible to motorists passing by. The person who did it was right on the TCH, a high visibility area.”
MacIsaac said the incident is not something they have to deal with very often in Port Aux Basques.
“It is a very rare occurrence that we see this around town anywhere.”
MacIsaac said the only thing they will have to do to remove the graffiti from the structure will be to paint it, which won’t take much time to complete or incur a high expense.
“Bit of labour and paint – not a huge cost to have it removed. It is in our schedule, and when we have staff free we will make sure we get them down there to get it painted and removed.”
In response to media inquiries,the RCMP released the following statement:
“At approximately 7:00 p.m. on May 29, 2022, Channel-Port aux Basques RCMP received a report of a man spray painting graffiti on a concrete wall on the side of the TCH.
A criminal charge of mischief (damage to property under $5000.00) has been laid against 55-year-old John Duprey of Nova Scotia.
He was arrested at a traffic stop at the Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal in Port aux Basques, shortly before 10 p.m. on May 29.
He was released from police custody and is scheduled to appear in court on August 17, 2022.”
Even though there isn’t a set date for the graffiti removal to be completed, with Come Home Year on the horizon, it’s safe to assume that the painting will be completed in time for the annual influx of tourists for the summer season.