Boosting funds for war on graffiti

GED CANN
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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The Wellingtonian

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Graffiti removal volunteer schemes have received a boost with Wellington City Council pledging $100,000 to support their work.

The money, which will go towards extending existing clean-up programmes and developing new ones, is in addition to $580,000 previously allocated to graffiti management in this year's annual plan.

The proposal by councillor Paul Eagle was passed unanimously at last week's council meeting.

Eagle said the council hoped to build on the Keep Newtown Clean model, which uses a council-run online database to direct volunteer efforts towards heavily graffitied areas.

"We want to provide a framework for communities to do it themselves, but we're expecting different methods will be needed for different areas," he said.

The $100,000 was based on estimations that $20,000 would be required to establish schemes in the five worst-affected suburbs - Hataitai, Karori, Aro Valley, Kilbirnie and Mt Cook, he said.

Funding would be used for tools, paint, safety equipment and education to help the volunteer base grow.

The move was not an attempt to replace paid contractors with volunteers, he said.

"We're not trying to get out of core public service.

"We want to make it so there is never an excuse to stop people from doing it themselves, so people can't say, ‘I don't have paint, I don't have gloves'."

Keep Newtown Clean founder David Wilcock said he was pleased the council had acknowledged the good work of volunteers.

But he still had reservations about the move.

"I don't want to see the money going towards staff that's meant for the community . . . it's important that the money goes towards these projects and not administration."

Keep Mount Cook Clean co-ordinator Paul Wilson said the money would be helpful in providing equipment, but was sceptical that it would help attract new volunteers.

"It's great to have the resources, the paint brushes and stuff, but the big issue is getting people involved," he said.

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- The Wellingtonian

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