BEAT THE GRAFFITI
Go West: Call to create a safe space for artists to spray away
BUSINESS operators in Emerton shopping precinct are fighting graffiti by looking at ways to encourage creative art in a safe space.
The centre has up to 150 graffiti incidents a year and spends $30,000 on its removal.
Tired of the vandalism, Homer’s takeaway shop manager Chris Kyria-con suggested businesses and Blacktown Council put together a program that provides specific space for graffiti artists. “Otherwise, they will keep on doing it,” he said.
Blacktown Council has dedicated $1.2 million to graffiti removal and deterrence this year.
THE Emerton retail precinct is in the grip of a graffiti epidemic.
No sooner than graffiti is cleaned, someone sprays another eyesore.
Owners and tenants in the shopping precinct say teamwork and creative thinking is required.
Business people say setting up designated walls for graffiti artists could co-opt them into caring for the shopping precinct, rather than vandalising it.
Iron Gym Fitness Centre manager Aroha Herkt said a personal trainer at the company had decided to clean the graffiti and rubbish, but the sight of needles as well forced him to call Blacktown Council for help.
“There’s a lot of graffiti all around this shopping centre. It makes it less enticing for people to come in,’’ Ms Herkt said.
Emerton Village shopping centre experiences up to 150 graffiti incidents a year and spends $30,000 on painting over sprayed walls and windows. Tenants in the centre foot the bill through rent.
Emerton Village manager Mark Armstrong said a financial assistance would be appreciated.
“We would be happy if Blacktown Council pitched in money to help cover the cost of cleaning up,’’ he said.
Other business managers in the precinct are looking at ways to encourage creative art in a safe space.
Homer’s burger and takeaway shop manager Chris Kyriacon said graffiti was a “weekly” occurrence, and he factored the clean-up into his business.
Mr Kyriacon suggested businesses and council put a program together that allows specific space for young people to make graffiti art.
“[Otherwise] they will keep on doing it,” he said.
There’s a lot of graffiti all around ... It makes it less enticing for people to come in
Blacktown Council has dedicated $1.2 million to graffiti removal and deterrence this year, but isn’t responsible for cleaning graffiti on the privately owned shopping centre.
Mr Kyriacon said similar programs in other council areas were successful.
“It’s interesting that if someone does graffiti that looks arty, others don’t go and graffiti over it,’’ he said.
A Blacktown Council spokeswoman said it encouraged young people to stop illegal graffiti and work with police to identify repeat graffiti offenders.
Council also provided free graffiti materials to volunteers and community groups including a volunteer graffiti removal trailer.
Business owners at Emerton Village shopping precinct are fighting a tough battle with ongoing graffiti while shop manager Chris Kyriacon (right) is keen for a long-term solution.