War called on graf­fiti

Com­mu­nity urged to par­tic­i­pate in day to help com­bat the is­sue

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Marissa Ge­or­gopou­los

RES­I­DENTS sick of unattrac­tive tags scrawled across the com­mu­nity are be­ing urged to par­tic­i­pate in Graf­fiti Re­moval Day on Sun­day.

The day aims to help com­bat the is­sue which costs the State Gov­ern­ment more than $100 mil­lion a year.

Black­town Coun­cil has given fed-up shop­keep­ers a glim­mer of hope, tar­get­ing graf­fi­tied com­mer­cial prop­erty in a bid to man­age the crime long-term.

Coun­cil se­nior co-or­di­na­tor of city im­age Rick Wiezel said coun­cil would fund and roll out a new pro­gram over the next 12 months to wipe out most-af­fected sites in the lo­cal gov­ern­ment area.

He said a State Gov­ern­ment grant of $30,000 had al­lowed the coun­cil to trial the pro­gram in var­i­ous hot spots such as Daw­son Mall at Mt Druitt. “We have seen an in­cred­i­ble de­crease in in­ci­dents of graf­fiti (there) over the past cou­ple of years,” Mr Wiezel said.

Due to the suc­cess of the trial, the coun­cil will “work in con­sul­ta­tion with prop- erty own­ers” and foot the bill for re­moval in the fu­ture.

One of the hard­est-hit ar­eas is the strip of shops in Po­pon­detta Rd, Emer­ton.

Oz Fried Chicken Norm Khoury man­ager said ugly graf­fiti had cov­ered the shop since he took over in 2007, and his team cleaned it up every few months.

When he pre­vi­ously called the coun­cil for help he was told it was his re­spon­si­bil­ity.

But Mr Wiezel said the coun­cil un­der­stood this, which is why $150,000 was added to the over­all $1.5 mil­lion bud­get for graf­fiti pro­grams and clean-up.

The coun­cil is calling for ten­ders for a po­ten­tial graf­fiti-re­moval con­tract.

Norm Khoury, of Oz Fried Chicken, is sick of see­ing his Emer­ton shop smeared by unattrac­tive graf­fiti. Pic­ture: Carmela Roche

Graf­fiti de­faces shop­ping com­plexes in the Mt Druitt area, in­clud­ing at Emer­ton and Wha­lan, as well as lo­cal un­der­passes. Pic­tures: Carmela Roche

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