POLL: Wollongong CBD splattered with white paint

Wollongong City Council is facing a hefty clean-up bill thanks to a brazen vandal who went on a spree through the CBD early yesterday.

The attacker splattered paint across pathways, walls and cars, causing extensive damage and a headache for those trying to avoid the mess.

Although the final damage bill is yet to be tallied, it is likely to run into the thousands of dollars.

‘‘It’s a blatant waste of council resources and an act of stupidity,’’ Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said yesterday.

The trail of white shows the route the vandal took.

Yesterday passers-by were forced to navigate their way around the still damp trail, which was concentrated around lower Crown Street, Kembla Street and the city’s arts precinct.

In the car park next to Yours and Owls on Kembla Street the smell of paint filled the air.

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Paint was splashed in criss-crosses on a wall, and over a seemingly abandoned car.

A single empty tin of metal primer sat close to the footpath.

The trail crossed Kembla Street, passing the fountain outside the Town Hall and down lower Crown Street.

Here the council’s graffiti removal team used bright orange traffic cones and ‘‘wet paint’’ signs to warn pedestrians.

Walking down lower Crown Street about 11am yesterday, Amy Howes of Mangerton was forced to step over the paint trail.

‘‘It’s just a pain in the neck,’’ she said.

‘‘At least no-one got hurt. But at the same time, it’s stupid.’’

The council has now been left with a potentially hefty clean-up bill, a spokeswoman said.

And some of the affected pavers are likely to need replacing.

Although the council was keen to get rid of the paint straight away, the graffiti team discovered it was oil-based and had to fully dry before they could begin removing it.

“This is a stupid, senseless act and I encourage anyone with information to contact Wollongong police,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

‘‘Council now has to consider the cost of cleaning up this mess and where that money will come from.

‘‘I would rather not have abstract expressionism on the pavement of Wollongong – I’d prefer it on canvas and hanging in our gallery.’’

A council spokeswoman said around $50,000 was spent each year on removing graffiti in Wollongong’s CBD.

Wollongong police Inspector Dan Richardson said the attack appeared deliberate and police were now investigating.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Wollongong police or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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