Latest graffiti attack prompts street art suggestion for Warrnambool

IF you don’t have permission to graffiti a wall, don’t do it — that’s the message from Warrnambool City Council.

Brierly Christ Church Cricket Club is the latest recipient of an unwanted paint job, which club treasurer Gary Stonehouse said is just part of an ongoing battle they’re fighting against vandals, hoons and thieves.

But Warrnambool City Council is not against graffiti as art. It just has to be in the right place, with the right permissions.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy against graffiti, unless it’s in an approved area,” Warrnambool mayor Michael Neoh said.

Finding those “approved areas” is something council needs to look at, he added.

Cr Neoh said the council’s plan to “activate Warrnambool’s CBD laneways” may be the answer. “Activating the laneways could be numerous things,” he said.

“It could be buskers or community gardens ... or maybe some of our laneways are where we could have some of art boards put up.

“We don’t want open-slather. But we need to look at an initiative where we can direct that quality graffiti. Some graffiti is quite good.”

He said placing “art boards” on the walls of the laneways would get around the need for building owners’ permission or heritage issues.

But in the meantime, graffiti is just one of the constant damage issues facing community groups like Brierly cricket club.

“It’s frustrating for us as a club,” Mr Stonehouse said.

“In the last couple of months we’ve had kids start our roller and ram it into a fence.

“It was just lucky it ran out of petrol before they got through the next fence. 

“We’ve had people doing burnouts on Saturday nights, which does a bit of damage to the pitch. 

“We’ve had graffiti. We had some over New Year’s. They’ve graffitied the clubrooms, the turf shed and an old storage shed.”

Mr Stonehouse said the club was looking forward to the proposed redevelopment of the Brierly recreation reserve precinct because it meant more people using the area and living nearby might lessen the amount of damage done.

“Once there’s more housing and more traffic it may deter some this,” he said. He said the issue of vandalism had been going on for years.

People caught in possession of spray cans or “graffiti implements” without a lawful permission, can be issued a penalty notice worth $704 by police. Anyone caught creating graffiti without permission would face charges of criminal damage or wilful damage and be summoned to appear in court.

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