City Officials Order Children to Stop Drawing on Sidewalks

Sidewalk Drawings Are they innocent children expressing their creativity, or evil graffiti artists vandalizing public property? Members of the Whitehorse, Australia city council have declared them the latter, and have ordered all children to stop making colored chalk drawings on the sidewalk outside family-friendly White's Cafe.

According to Sally White, a council officer told her that the drawings, made by her children and the children of patrons, are considered graffiti and have to stop. It seems someone had filed a complaint about the drawings, which, according to White, are mostly stick figures, scribbles, fish or pirates.

Most of the cafe's patrons were surprised and upset when they heard about the complaint, saying they consider the children's drawings quaint and colorful creative expressions. One patron, whose son likes to join other children coloring on the sidewalk, told the Whitehorse Leader that that's the only time he shows any interest in art.

When the children were told they couldn't make their drawings anymore, they cried.

So White has opted to let them continue, in violation of the city decree. She says she is willing to wash the drawings off each afternoon when they close, or apply for a permit from the council to let the drawings continue.

But the council is standing firm. Peter Smith, the Council's general manager corporate services, says the drawings are in violation of Local Law No. 1 2006 and the state government's Graffiti Act of 2007, and that the age of the person drawing the graffiti is irrelevant. He said the council will have to issue a compliance notice if the drawing continues or if any other complaints are received.

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