Graf­fiti up­surge at Oswal site

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Opinion - By JON BAS­SETT

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.

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