Graffiti upsurge at Oswal site
GRAFFITI covers at least three domes at the incomplete $70 million Oswal mansion in Bay View Terrace, Peppermint Grove since Australia Day.
Last Thursday, adjacent residents did not wish to be named because they feared retribution from the vandals but they likened the graffiti to that of inner-city ghettoes and said there had been a noticeable rise in the spray painting in the past two weeks.
Peppermint Grove Council alleges Pankaj and Radhika Oswal, who left the mansion unfinished in 2010, owe about $100,000 in rates after a $58,000 part-payment was made in December.
The 6600sq m, weed-strewn site is being used as a rubbish dump and is reportedly littered with hand-made drug-smoking implements and is an occasional home to vagrants.
Peppermint Grove chief executive John Merrick said the council was still seeking a demolition order from the State Government to stop the mansion being a “blight” on the community, after it was declared uninhabitable and a continuing fire and safety hazard,
Mr Merrick said the couple’s lawyers had indicated more owed rates could be paid but the council and police could not be agencies for the site’s permanent security.
Ordering the dome graffiti be removed was problematic when the council would not spend ratepayers’ money on a clean-up.
“And as soon as you start talking enforcement, you start talking about legal action, and they have unlimited funds, unlike us,” Mr Merrick said.
Police have patrolled past the mansion to tackle youth’s illegal parties, trespassing and vandalism during summer.
Cottesloe Senior Sergeant Neil Morton-Smith was unaware of any reported incidents at the mansion in the past three weeks.
He said the property was still regularly patrolled and it did not add any pressure to police resources.
Oswal's lawyer Rebekah Giles said contractors’ work to improve security at the site in recent weeks had been prohibited by extra padlocks on the site’s gate. There has been no reply from the council about access, but discussions about the allegedly owed rates would continue.
The Oswal mansion has been the target of increased vandalism.