Lane let-down

Franca Di Natale and pooch Julia in St Alban’s Ave. Photo by David Bell.

TAGGERS have been hitting Vincent’s laneways so hard lately, the council’s sole graffiti cleaner can’t keep up.

A tour through Highgate’s lanes this week revealed a spaghetti mess of tags through Blazevic, Marocchi and Martyr Lanes, and St Alban’s Ave looks like a paint bomb went off.

Many councils have free cleaning services to quickly get rid of graffiti, hoping taggers will be deterred if they know their piece will only survive briefly. 

Highgate resident Franca Di Natale says she’s been unable to get graffiti removed in months, and “the laneways look disgusting and unsightly”.

Her home backs onto St Alban’s Avenue and her garage doors and back fence are often getting hit. But she hasn’t had any luck getting Vincent’s graffiti cleaner out, calling twice in May, then in June.

“We rang again on September 8 and this time [were] told that because the graffiti was in the right of way they are no longer carrying out any graffiti removal – only if it was in the front.

“I said ‘so if it’s not visible, then their motto is ‘don’t worry about it’.

“And the response was: ‘Unfortunately, that is the case’.”

The Di Natales have cleaned it up several times themselves and gave the kerb a new paint job after it was emblazoned with nonsense. But it’s an uphill battle due to the amount of graffiti and the different substances across different surfaces; some needing cleaning, some abrasion and others needing a new paint job.

Mayor Emma Cole acknowledge the graffiti surge had left Vincent unable to keep up: “In the last financial year, over 2000 incidents of graffiti have been removed and the demand continues to increase. The City of Vincent’s resources are under pressure and we don’t have capacity to remove graffiti from private property.

“We do understand that graffiti in our laneways needs attention, especially as our laneways continue to evolve and develop, with more laneways having their own unique streetscapes. 

“I have requested that the graffiti removal policy be reviewed, so that cleaning graffiti in our laneways is clarified, and that the cost of additional graffiti removal be provided to Council so that we can stay on top of this growing need in our parks, on public property and in our streets and laneways.”

Perth and Stirling councils clean graffiti on private property if it’s visible from the street.

by DAVID BELL

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