This photo of a woman pecking her pooch is among the shots removed from the Downtown Victoria Business Association's Kiss in the City contest page on Facebook. A group known as The Disruption Collective submitted the photos to protest what they call the criminalization of poverty in the downtown core.

Downtown Victoria kissing contest gets political

DVBA general manager says annual Valentine's Day contest not the right venue for protests

A Valentine’s Day kissing contest meant to promote the downtown core isn’t getting any love from one activist group.

Members of The Disruption Collective, who oppose gentrification of the downtown core, submitted several photos to the Downtown Victoria Business Association’s annual Kiss in the City contest Facebook page this week.

The photos were of people kissing near private property signs, and were intended to draw attention to what the collective calls “the ongoing criminalization of poverty in the city.”

“The kissing contest is a vehicle for the DVBA to promote an exclusive, consumer-oriented image of the downtown area,” Collective member Julie Anne Blackpen wrote in a release.

DVBA general manager Ken Kelly said the photos were removed because one contained offensive content, and they didn’t suit a contest meant to “bring out the fun and excitement on Valentine’s Day.”

“We took our prerogative as the sponsors of this contest to remove all three of the submitted photos,” he said.

The DVBA has several programs that aim to include the street population, including its Clean Team, which has employed about 50 people since 2005, Kelly added.

The Disruption Collective plans to continue to take photographs and submit them to the contest up until the Kiss in the City deadline on Feb. 3.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

 

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