EXTENSIVE graffiti plastered across the city’s underpass is sending the wrong message to visitors as the CBD shop window, a tourism operator says.
Wagga Airport Shuttle owner Peter Rex says graffiti and overgrown vegetation on the Edward Street rail underpass is a “disgrace”.
“It looks terrible,” he said.
“It’s like the shop window to central Wagga and your shop window is what draws people in.
“It’s not attractive.
“I get a lot of tourists comment to me regularly what a shame it is when you compare it to the rest of the city.”
Mr Rex said cleaning up the underpass should be made a priority because it is one of the major entrances into the CBD.
But Mr Rex also insisted no pocket of the city was immune to the problem that was plaguing the entire city.
“The graffiti looks shocking,” Mr Rex said.
“The whole city, I’ve never seen Wagga have such a bad graffiti problem.
“We’re becoming like western Sydney. I just want the city to be better.
“I think the graffiti has increased dramatically over the past five years.”
Mr Rex suggested council initiate a graffiti hotline or online reporting page to stay on top of the growing problem – and issue that has prompted Wagga City Council to form a partnership with local police and the men’s shed to combat the mindless vandalism.
While mayor Rod Kendall said the Australian Rail Track Corporation was responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the rail underpass – including monitoring and removing the graffiti – he said it was a pressing problem across the rest of the city.
“No doubt about it, there’s a spike in graffiti,” Cr Kendall said.
“It’s very much in the mind of (Wagga Superintendent) Bob Noble and we do have a group response clean-up in co-ordination with the men’s shed.”
Cr Kendall said the cost of removing graffiti was significant and council was considering using public art as a tactic on areas repeatedly hit by graffiti, such as one of Riverina Water’s reservoirs.
“It (graffiti removal) is something that costs businesses and people a lot of money each year,” Cr Kendall said.
“I would just ask people show a bit more respect to other people’s property.”
Cr Kendall encouraged everyone to report graffiti to police or council.
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