Devil is in the detail when you want graffiti erased

By Elizabeth Binning

Bucklands Beach resident Lisa van der Walt is upset with how long it has taken the council to remove satanic graffiti from the wall of the Priestley Drive Superette. Photo / Richard Robinson
Bucklands Beach resident Lisa van der Walt is upset with how long it has taken the council to remove satanic graffiti from the wall of the Priestley Drive Superette. Photo / Richard Robinson

Lisa van der Walt has been waiting for five weeks for satanic graffiti to be removed from the wall of her local dairy.

Today, that should finally happen, but only after numerous calls to the Auckland Council ... and eventually having to go public with her complaint.

Mrs van der Walt, a Bucklands Beach mother, contacted the Herald yesterday saying she and other community members had had enough of seeing the offensive graffiti every time they go to the Priestly Drive Superette.

She said her 12-year-old daughter was upset at seeing the satanic images each day, as were other children in the area.

While the dairy, on the corner of Priestly and Wycherley Drives, is frequently vandalised, the tags are usually gone within a day or two.

This time, it's been sitting there for more than a month - despite calls from both the dairy owner and Mrs van der Walt.

"This time satanical words, offensive language and signs have been sprayed on and it's not a good look," she said.

"I approached the council two weeks ago about it and was told the first couple of times that the job was logged as completed. Several times I was assured the job would get done ... but to this day, nothing's been done."

Yesterday, during yet another phone call, she was told it was private property and the council would have to talk to the building owner.

"The fact still remains that it's been five weeks that the wall has been full of graffiti and children are exposed to it.

"This is my dairy and they are the most lovely people who are in there. They just don't deserve this treatment."

Dairy owners Don and Gloria Kumar, who have been renting the building for the past 14 years, said graffiti was an ongoing problem.

For the first 10 years, Mr Kumar painted it out himself, before hoping the Manukau Beautification Trust - which removes graffiti in the area - would take over.

"In the last four years I just gave up. That's when I gave them [10 litres of] paint and two paintbrushes and said, 'Can you do it?"'

But more recently, said Mr Kumar, he has had difficulty getting the team to remove the graffiti as they want him to supply more paint - which he can't afford.

However, it seems a phone call from the Herald yesterday afternoon was more than enough to change the team's mind. The council's community development and partnerships manager, Kevin Marriott, offered not only an apology to Mr Kumar and Mrs van der Walt but a promise the graffiti would be "gone in 24 hours".

He said the council aimed to remove graffiti "as quickly as we possibly can".

"More than 90 per cent of the stuff we are dealing with is gone within 24 hours, so this looks like one that has dropped in the cracks.

"I can assure you it will be gone in the next 24 hours."

Mr Marriott said graffiti removal varied around the city.

He said that the council was working to put a new graffiti vandalism plan into place to streamline things a bit more.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 16 Sep 2014 13:01:43 Processing Time: 595ms