Kelowna City Hall defaced again with COVID-19 hoax graffiti

·2 min read

City hall in Kelowna, B.C., has been defaced for a second time by a graffiti vandal who appears to have grievances with COVID-19 restrictions.

Police say the vandal struck around 4:30 a.m. PT Wednesday.

The large black spray-painted messages read in part: "Lest we forget our veterans sacrificed their lives fighting to preserve a free world for us. Now we have surrendered those freedoms..."

City hall was closed in observance of Remembrance Day all day while crews worked to remove the graffiti off two walls.

Police have released a photo of a person of interest, described as approximately six feet tall with a slim build, wearing ripped blue jeans, a balaclava and a black winter jacket with a hood.

Kelowna RCMP
Kelowna RCMP

Heather Friesen, who describes herself as a community activist, posted photos of the graffiti on social media.

"It definitely looks like the same people [who did the earlier graffiti] but this time it didn't have as many spelling errors," said Friesen. "I'm embarrassed and angry. It's just more money being wasted on cleaning."

On the night of Oct. 26, two different walls of city hall were defaced in a similar all-capitals style. That message read in part: "I want breath[e] fresh air and live fre[e] COVID has a 99.9% survi[v]al rate."

Winston Szeto/CBC
Winston Szeto/CBC

The latest graffiti attack comes one day after Interior Health — the health authority that administers Kelowna — issued a COVID-19 alert because of a surge of cases in the region.

In a statement, the authority says it is concerned by the upward trend and frequency of new clusters.

CBC has contacted Mayor Colin Basran and the city's communications department for comment.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 if they want to remain anonymous.