16 October 2021

All I need is a can of paint?

Published in the Eastern Herald last week. 

All I need is a can of paint?

This is a plea from a resident this morning.

Where did this start? Many years ago Unley developed a graffiti management program. This recruited a number of volunteers, provided each person with cans  of paint in popular fence colours and let them go. It worked well, response times were quick and graffiti was reduced. At the time the best advice that we had was that to be effective in reducing graffiti it had to be painted out quickly. People who graffiti like to see their work and show it off to others. they don’t like wasting their paint and choose to go elsewhere. Council also  began  funding  mural art on key large walls which were often targeted.

Somehow this program lapsed and, following a recent Council motion, staff have been reviewing the program. The new proposal is somewhat perplexing: volunteers have been consulted on a range of rules that they would need to comply with. These rules propose only painting areas of graffiti that are less than the size of an A4 page, not on private property, below shoulder height, etc:  leaving volunteers with almost nothing they could effectively do.   The restrictions in the name of Risk Management could render the new program as good as useless. I understand that Onkaparinga Council has a couple of vans and trailers that go out each day to remove graffiti, the van is staffed with volunteers and paint in every colour. While I hope that there isn’t this much need in Unley, as it’s a fraction of the size, it might be a good place to get some learnings from.

This, of course still doesn’t manage graffiti within the rail corridors or on DIT owned infrastructure which can be much worse than the stuff on local fences and road signs. They paint it out once a year whether it needs it or not! The two people I had coffee with this morning just need a can or two of paint, preferably bronze olive, as this is still the most popular fence colour, to get the job done as often as they can.

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