YARRA Ranges Council is cracking down on graffiti — but is it the council's responsibility?
The council last week approved spending a further $62,000 on a second vehicle and associated equipment to tackle graffiti removal.
A policy was also put in place for the council to be responsible for removing graffiti from the property of frail or vulnerable residents unable to clean it themselves.
But during the meeting, Cr Jeanette McRae also moved that the council should be responsible for cleaning graffiti from all private properties.
"They (residents) are putting their rates into it. With two units we should be more than capable of handling this," Cr Noel Cliff said in supporting the motion.
"We can't just expect people will clean graffiti off private property. If they don't, then what? Do we bring in a by-law and slam them?"
Cr Richard Higgins said it was important people were educated on how to remove graffiti themselves and took ownership over the issue. "I agree it would be lovely (to help everyone) but ... there are people in our area who have absolutely no idea how to remove graffiti or have the capacity to do it — and that is who we should help."
Cr Terry Avery agreed about the importance of community input.
"Otherwise apathy grows and they think that it's OK, council will clean it up."
Cr Len Cox said it was something that council could work towards but disagreed it should be committed to straightaway.
The alternate motion was lost with only councillors Cliff and McRae voting in favour.
In the 2011-12 budget, funding was set aside to establish a graffiti removal unit that would include a four-wheel-drive, two staff and cleaning equipment.
A recent review by the unit stated the initiative had proved successful and highlighted the opportunity to expand the service. The highest amount of graffiti in the shire is in Lilydale, followed by Mooroolbark.
Councillors Higgins and Avery are calling for expressions of interest from people who would like to be part of a volunteer base to help remove graffiti as part of a trial project. Anyone interested in joining the group can call Cr Higgins on 9727 3093.
Have Your Say: Should it be council's responsibility to remove all graffiti from private property within the shire? Post a comment at yarrarangesweekly.com.au or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.