Graffiti on hotel prompts action

Last updated 05:00 24/07/2013
Timaru Graffiti
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ

WHAT A MESS: Ron Bishop has claimed responsibility on Youtube for the graffiti on the Hydro Grand Hotel.

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Graffiti painted on the Hydro Grand yesterday has been covered.

Police are still waiting to speak to Allan Booth, the owner of the building, but last night an agent for Mr Booth painted over the graffiti, which included the phrase "the Wite Eleephant".

That was probably the best thing which could have happened, as leaving tagging just encouraged more, Timaru Constable Marcus Dominey said this morning.

Mr Booth is overseas at present, and efforts by police to contact him this morning have been unsuccessful at this stage. Through his agent he had earlier indicated he wished charges to be laid against those responsible for the damage.

Tagging is usually considered to be wilful damage with that charge carrying a maximum sentence of three months imprisonment and/or a fine of $2000.

A video uploaded to YouTube shows Timaru man and long time supporter of the hotel, Ron Bishop, outside the Bay Hill building. In the video he talks about holding a working bee to paint the hotel which he has renamed The White Elephant Hotel.

Mr Bishop has long campaigned to retain the building.

Police yesterday said that before the graffiti complaint was laid, a member of the public had alerted police to Mr Bishop's video, which was uploaded to YouTube earlier in the day.

In the video Mr Bishop states "today's the day I paint the Hydro Grand". He talks about naming the building The White Elephant Hotel.

"I am going to paint it white. I am going down there now to make a start before anyone gets out of bed," he states in the video.

"I've named it the white elephant. It is the biggest white elephant in Timaru. The CEO, the big chief of Timaru Tourist Promotions Mr Ron Bishop, is down here painting it.

"He has had enough. He has been sitting waiting for 20 years for them to do something with it but nothing has ever happened and he is going to paint the bloody thing himself.

"This is just a message for you mate [Mr Booth]. Get the bloody gorse out of your pocket and paint this bloody place or do something with it."

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- The Timaru Herald

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