Call for a Coffs graffiti buster

THE call has gone out for a volunteer graffiti buster ready to pull on the gloves and clean up our streets.

That was the resolve to come out of Ted Bickford’s address to the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce yesterday.

The retiree known as the “Mr Sheen of the streets” has made Forster-Tuncurry a graffiti-free town over the past 15 years.

“It’s a great working example of how one community is keeping on top of it but what the Coffs Coast needs is its own Ted Bickford, someone who is willing to take on the role,” chamber executive officer Garth Shipperlee said.

Every morning at dawn, Ted patrols the streets in his council-funded truck, cleaning up spray paint before the tags see the light of day.

Carrying a mobile phone and paint-lifting solvents, he’s tipped off by the public when graffiti turns up in their neighbourhood.

His chamber breakfast address to business, community and council leaders, followed the recent law and order meeting at Park Beach.

At that meeting chamber president Peter Lubans asked residents if they would volunteer to be graffiti busters and up to 20 people raised their hands.

“The chamber can’t run the program, really it’s up to council but we could organise some business support and possible sponsorship,” Mr Shipperlee said.

Mr Bickford has agreed to work with the local community to pass on his knowledge when it comes to paint- and ink-lifting chemicals.

“I was very happy with the meeting. People seemed to be interested but it’s up to the community to take it up,” Mr Bickford said.

His work now sees him visiting schools to talk about the cost of graffiti.

He even mentors youths ordered to do community service by the courts.

“Ted started off on a pushbike, then council got behind him and it now costs ratepayers just $25,000 a year to cover the cost of the truck, petrol and the paints and chemicals,” Great Lakes mayor Jan McWilliams said.

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