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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : February 25th 2009
MB INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, February 26, 2009 5 CLEANING UP OUR STREETS www.innerwestweekly.com.au Urban crusader's on the job FIONA BRADY Graffiti at North Strathfield Public School, which was cleaned up. Vandalised playground equipment Five Dock park. A smashed up bus shelter. Nigel Withers, of Five Dock, runs a blog about vandalism in the Inner West. Main picture: PHIL BLATCH; Inset pictures: NIGEL WITHERS GRAFFITI, litter, dumped cars, vandalised playgrounds. Most of us tut and walk on. But a Five Dock man has em- barked on a crusade to clean up what he calls ''the unnatural en- vironment''. Nigel Withers photographs any vandalism he sees while out on his daily bike ride and reports it to the relevant authority or council. He then records their action, or inaction, on his blog -- notsep.com.au -- short for ''not someone else's problem''. ''I describe it as taking care of the unnatural environment -- con- crete, steel, plastic, tarmac and manicured environments such as parks,'' he said. ''The greenies can go and hug the trees and kiss the whales but 90 per cent of us live in the urban environment. ''The biggest problem is that people look at things and go, 'oh, look it's broken' but don't report it. ''They seem to think that coun- cils have little eyes in the sky to magically detect graffiti, fallen trees or burst water mains. ''But they don't.'' Mr Withers said he received a mixed response from the authorities. ''With some of the councils, the reports disappear into a big black hole whereas others are right on top of it,'' he said, adding that his local council, Canada Bay, should be commended for its efforts. He estimates that he has spent about 20 hours taking photo- graphs, writing letters and mak- ing phone calls, describing his efforts as ''lifting a little finger''. ''The Rotary Club members, the Lions Club, the Meals on Wheels people, they're putting a lot more time in than I am. ''It does go to show though that if people don't want to go out and do voluntary work there are other things they can do to improve our community with almost no effort.'' Hopes that tough law makes a mark GRAFFITI vandals could face up to three months in jail or a $1100 fine for being caught with a marker pen under tough new laws which came into force last week. The Graffiti Control Act makes it an offence to carry markers or etching implements for the purpose of com- mitting graffiti vandalism. This pre- viously only applied only to spray paint cans. State Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said: ''The Rees Gov- ernment is opening up a new front on the war on graffiti tags by banning the implements these vandals use to do their dirty work.'' 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February 18th 2009
March 4th 2009