Graffiti that has plagued a major road intersection at Frenchs Forest is finally to be removed.
Member for Davidson Matt Cross (main image, third from left) said he raised the issue in the NSW Parliament after a number of local residents complained to him about unsightly graffiti in such a prominent location.
“Several local residents contacted my office about graffiti on Forest Way and Warringah Road. It’s an important piece of infrastructure that has sadly become an eyesore,” said Mr Cross.
One of those who contacted Mr Cross was Bruce Johnson (main image, second from left), who said he had contacted Northern Beaches Council about the graffiti but been told it was a state road and therefore a NSW Government issue to resolve.
“I drove down here and thought, we have to do something about this. So I went and took some photographs of it, put it on the [social media] community pages, and I got a whole lot of responses.
“About 600 people responded to that, and only a few people said it should stay there. Everyone was just fed up with it, and everyone pays a lot of money to live in this area, in rates and property prices.
“We’re really proud of the area we live in, and to see that every time you turn into Warringah Road is not good,” said Mr Johnson.
Having received a number of complaints about the issue, Mr Cross sent a letter to NSW Roads Minister John Graham in June asking what could be done.
Parliamentary Secretary for Roads Anna Watson responded to Mr Cross two months later on 31 August saying that graffiti removal would not be conducted because each time it was removed from the acoustic barriers above the roadway, it was back within a couple of days and a more permanent solution was required. Ms Watson added that an ‘improvement plan’ for the location was being considered.
With the intersection sitting at the border of the Davidson and Wakehurst electorates, Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan also raised the matter on behalf of his constituents.
Mr Regan met with Minister Graham in October, receiving the same assurance that an ‘improvement plan’ was being considered.
“Both the Council Traffic Committee and myself, first as Mayor and now as your MP, have been arguing this [graffiti issue], first with the previous Government and now with the new Government.
“I am pleased to report that the Minister agrees this is a crazy situation and agreed with Council staff that there is a permanent fix available.
“Transport for NSW has now investigated and I welcome the commitment to an ‘improvement plan’ which will address unauthorised access and safety, as well as mitigating future vandalism.
“Work will begin shortly on this and the timing to be announced, however I understand this is imminent,” Mr Regan wrote on social media in October.
With the confirmation of an ‘improvement plan’ in hand, Mr Cross asked upper house colleague Chris Rath to raise the question once more with Minister Graham, requesting specific information. A response to that question was received last week (Monday, 06 November), stating;
“ConnectSydney, on behalf of Transport for NSW, have proposed the installation of an anti-climb mesh barrier and graffiti removal at the intersection of Warringah Road and Forest Way, Frenchs Forest.
“ConnectSydney are currently awaiting subcontractor pricing for the works and once received, ConnectSydney will forward the proposal to Transport for NSW for final approval.
“ConnectSydney will remove the existing graffiti at the location in conjunction with the installation of the proposed anti-climb mesh barrier,” responded Minister Graham.
On Tuesday morning this week (14 November), Mr Cross gathered with concerned community members on site to share the good news (main image and above).
“I was happy to write to the Minister on behalf of our community. I am pleased Transport for NSW is taking real action to stop people from accessing this site to graffiti. This is a win for our community and a win for commonsense,” said Mr Cross.
The news was welcomed by those present, including Frenchs Forest resident Lyndall Pearson (image above, second from right), who said the graffiti had remained an eyesore for too long.
“As the saying goes, the standard we walk past is the standard we accept. Unless we, as a community, take action to say this is not acceptable then we are just going to trash the community,” said Ms Pearson.
Images: Northern Beaches Advocate