FRUSTRATED at spending $5000 of ratepayers’ money in two days this week to clean graffiti off the One Tree Hill water reservoir at Hillvue, Tamworth Regional Council deputy mayor Russell Webb is spitting chips ahead of this Sunday’s official Graffiti Removal Day.
“It’s a big and expensive job,” said Cr Webb, looking none too amused as DC’s High-Pressure Cleaning workers, in full boiler suits and gloves set to work with solvent and steam cleaner.
Even with a wire fence with strands of barbed wire on top, the purveyors of ugly graffiti managed to get over it to carry out their “work”.
“They climb up and push it down,” Cr Webb said.
Graffiti is a growing problem for Tamworth – and it’s costing more to remove.
“We spent close to $20,000 in recent times removing graffiti from public infrastructure,” he said.
Tags (signatures) sprayed on public signs created an issue of public safety as well.
“It’s extremely frustrating but it’s also extremely costly because it costs a lot to replace those signs,” Cr Webb said. “Our facilities are normally signposted ... and in a lot of cases those signs ... are used to show a no-go area and that’s why we have the responsibility to deliver the clear and concise message on those signs.”
He said ratepayers’ money was being used to clean up graffiti when it should be put towards things like roadworks. “We’re dipping into the bucket of money that would otherwise be used to better the town,” Cr Webb said.
“As a community representative, that is a huge disappointment to me because we struggle each year at budget time to find the money to use it on things that the community expects us to do.”
He says part of the solution would be to make people doing graffiti pay to help clean up their own mess.
Sites for Graffiti Removal Day in Tamworth include Victoria Park reservoir, the Peel River levee bank and bridge (between Gipps St footbridge and Darling St), where graffiti is on concrete bridge abutments, steel hand rails, light posts and sign posts, as well as the concrete levee bank near the concrete footpath and cycle track on the northern side of Peel River.
Graffiti Removal Day occurs across NSW in 65 local government areas.
Details can be found at www.graffitiremovalday.org.au