A spate of graffiti across Bairnsdale is costing ratepayers, as East Gippsland Shire Council’s works crew cleans up the vandalism daily.
The clean-up efforts come at a considerable time and financial cost to Council and ultimately ratepayers. These resources would otherwise be allocated to services that benefit the community, such as park and playground maintenance and upgrades, repairing and constructing new footpaths, installing bollards for public safety etc.
Council’s General Manager Assets and Environment Fiona Weigall said graffiti attacks were most prevalent in the central business district and West Bairnsdale.
“Our officers have been removing graffiti from Council infrastructure along with other buildings in Bairnsdale daily. Our staff are doing a great job and community committees have expressed their gratitude, however it is not the best use of their time,” Ms Weigall said.
“Graffiti is also occurring on private buildings and other infrastructure which is not Council’s. Victoria Police have been notified and will continue to be notified as the graffiti occurs.”
In some instances, in West Bairnsdale the works crew has cleaned graffiti from sporting and bus shelters and street signs only to return the same day to find new graffiti. Along some stretches of streets, almost every road sign has been ‘tagged’.
Council encourage residents to report incidents of graffiti, or information about the perpetrators and timing of vandalism etc., to Victoria Police.
“We have met recently with Victoria Police officers who have advised that they too consider this an issue and are encouraging the broader community to report any graffiti so that they can action this and hopefully catch the perpetrators,” Ms Weigall said.
“Our officers have been working closing with Bairnsdale police to reporting incidents and provide evidence. Council’s youth team is also proactive in delivering programs to discourage antisocial behaviour.”
Council works crew team members Jason Armistead, Justin Sherritt and Frank Grando are tackling the task of removing graffiti with a smile on their face, but would prefer to be using their time installing infrastructure and completing maintenance the community can benefit from. The men are pictured at the WORLD netball courts, where every shelter has been vandalised.