Nelson's Doran Amatto and City of Nelson public works crews worked to remove graffiti tagging from a rock wall at the base of IODE Park on Monday morning.

Nelson man campaigns to knock down graffiti tagging

Nasty graffiti tagging on a prominent rock wall in Nelson’s downtown received quick action from a resident

Nasty graffiti tagging on a prominent rock wall in Nelson’s downtown received quick action from a resident who hopes to begin an ongoing assault against illegal spray painting.

Sometime overnight between Saturday and Sunday, a spray paint vandal tagged the rock wall at the base of IODE Park on Hall Street. When he returned from a day of fishing, Nelson resident Doran Amatto saw a post on Facebook showing the damage to the wall.

“It disgusts and infuriates me,” Amatto told the Star. “I grew up here, this is my town and I take a lot of pride in this little community. It’s frustrating to see this kind of tagging.”

Through Facebook, on Sunday night Amatto attempted to rally those with similar concerns to meet him bright and early Monday to get rid of the tag. When he showed up at 5:30 a.m. with buckets, brushes and other supplies he was the only one. Undeterred, the 43-year-old attempted to remove the large tag scrawled across one-quarter of the wall.

It proved difficult, so he decided to head down to the City of Nelson’s public works building to seek help. Public works manager Karen MacDonald responded and told Amatto she would send a crew to the downtown to help. Using a new product called “The World’s Best Graffiti Removal Agent,” Amatto and the city crews had the paint removed by 9 a.m.

“They were fantastic,” Amatto said of the City workers.

Amatto now hopes to take his battle against unwanted tagging to the next level. For years, the Nelson Rotary Daybreak Club has spent a couple weekends each year on a massive graffiti removal effort which they just carried out this past Saturday. Amatto applauds that effort, but would like more of an ongoing project.

A painter by trade, Amatto lived in Kelowna a few years back. Twelve years ago he helped organize a group that went out on a regular basis to combat graffiti in that Okanagan city.

“We really attacked it and knocked it back. It took a lot of work, but we did it,” Amatto said of the Kelowna effort. “Now I see it happening here more and more, I don’t want to see it get out of hand. Tourism really keeps this place going and the more crap written all over the walls leaves a bad impression for visitors and the people that live here.”

Amatto understands graffiti tagging will always take place and some of it is actually art, but he agrees with a comment left on Facebook that stated: “Street art makes you laugh, makes you think, makes you cry, makes you feel… graffiti just pisses you off.”

“That was really well put,” he said of the comment left by Philip Markin. “There are a lot of times when I see graffiti and if there is some thought put behind it and it’s not plastered on a heritage building… maybe there is a place for it. Tagging is just a need for people to get attention and it’s offensive.”

For his effort on Monday morning and his idea for an ongoing project, Amatto has received support from Nelson’s Home Hardware. He said if the community comes together then the battle can be won.

“If you keep knocking it down it will get the point across to the people that are doing it,” said Amatto. “If it keeps getting knocked down, you hope they will lose interest in doing it.

“Something has to be done, even if it’s temporary.”

If you are interested in helping Amatto, contact him at:


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