Unintended, but entirely foreseeable

Words and images by CopperLine

When Major Roads Projects Victoria (MRPV) installed the large retaining wall on the west side of Fitzsimons Lane at its junction with Main Road in Eltham, they touted its success.   

The Big Build website still states: “The retaining wall panels feature a textured finish and a natural colour, reflecting feedback received through community engagement undertaken during the project. The retaining wall design draws on geological, historical and social influences”.  

Well, some “social influences” have now led to drawing on the wall, literally.  We see the creeping presence of graffiti on the more accessible sections of the wall, destroying the intended aesthetic.  

 A small, well-informed group of locals met with MRPV several times to discuss changes to the planned wall.  The group proposed to replace the wall with terracing that could be planted out.  This would retain the natural aesthetic, reduce the newly created heat sink and avoid a large canvas for graffiti.  This was rejected by MRPV because, they claimed, further excavation of the embankment would require more soil and tree removal, and engineering issues related to soil stability and soil suitability for planting out – all adding to the project cost.  The group accepted the MRPV response and turned their attention to the Eltham Gateway Renewal Project.

At the time of writing, it is unclear to us who is responsible for graffiti removal.  Nillumbik Shire Council suggest it is MRPV as part of their 24 month maintenance arrangement for newly completed projects. MRPV told us that responsibility lies with the Department of Transport who are yet to respond to our inquiry.