Collaborative clean-up results in enhanced outdoor experience in Ebdentown

A Council-initiated community clean-up and mural installation provides a platform for Upper Hutt’s young people to connect with their community and contribute toward an enhanced environment.

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 10 AUG 2016—Upper Hutt City Council, in collaboration with Oxford Crescent School senior students, has installed a mural and facilitated a clean-up in the road reserve which runs from the end of Ebdentown Street to Totara Park Road.

“The installation of a mural and the clean-up of the surrounding area is part of a city wide community project dubbed ‘Painted Environment’ that aims to decrease graffiti and build cultural and heritage character in Upper Hutt by installing murals in public places around the City,” says Council’s Director Community Services, Mike Ryan.

The road reserve which is also a ‘safer cycle route to school’, previously suffered from extensive graffiti vandalism, it was described by the students as ‘scruffy,’ ‘disturbing,’ and ‘unloved.’

Council engaged professional artist Claire Rye to work with senior students from Oxford Crescent School to design and install a mural at the Ebdentown Street entrance to the road reserve. The students took the time to interact with and observe people using the space as part of the design process.

The outcome is a mural that showcases Upper Hutt’s natural beauty, promotes active travel options and reflects the local community.

During the clean-up project, Council supported Oxford Crescent School students to conduct rubbish removal in the area; over 10 kilograms of rubbish was collected from the road reserve. Additionally, Council upgraded lighting along the road reserve. The new LED lights emit crisp white light for better definition and clarity at night. Finally, graffiti was removed from all Council owned assets and Council officers worked with the New Zealand Transport Agency to facilitate removal of graffiti from their assets which border the road reserve.

“The results are spectacular. Feedback from the public has been overwhelmingly supportive of the enhanced space,” says Council’s Community Development Advisor, Denise Johnson who oversaw the project. “Watching this group of young people connect with their wider community, and learn that they can have a positive and meaningful impact in their city has been one of the most satisfying outcomes of this project.”