KITCHENER -- The Region of Waterloo spent $27,000 on restoring a unique art piece outside downtown Kitchener last year. Now, someone has hit it with graffiti.

The sculpture, called "Aporia," is made of fibreglass and is infamously referred to by locals as "the Intestine." It's been a landmark near Lancaster Street West and Frederick Street for four decades.

Restoration started in July of 2020, when officials fenced it off to spruce it up.

Crews were doing the work at the same time the courthouse building behind the sculpture was getting its own restoration.

The sculpture was one of the earliest pieces of public art in the city, but residents are still debating its meaning.

"Whether people love it or feel differently about it, they definitely have an emotional reaction to it," said Ellen McGaghey with the Region of Waterloo.

Over the weekend, someone spray painted "Aporia" with graffiti. By Monday night the tag had already been removed.

The region said that an anti-graffiti coating was included in last summer's restoration cost, meaning it will be an easy clean-up job.

"What it means is that the graffiti paint, it doesn't become saturated into the artwork, so it's easily removed from the surface," McGaghey said.

Some people said they're disappointed that the popular piece was targeted.

"I don't know why they have to do stuff like that. You'd think they should leave it alone," one passerby said.

The region originally said crews will clean off the graffiti in the next couple of days, so the large sculpture doesn't have to be moved.

"It's a piece of our cultural fabric in the city and it's important that it be maintained," McGaghey said.

Nearby road signs and regional buildings were also tagged with spray paint.

"I'll be doing cleanups in those locations and then speaking to police," McGaghey said.

McGaghey also plans to ask for an increased security presence to prevent graffiti in the future.