Statement from Mayor Brian Little
Council is extremely disappointed with the theft of eight footpath signs erected on 11 October 2021 near Eaton Mall Oakleigh and stolen later that night.
The eight signs advise of changes under Council’s Smoke Free Areas Local Law that allow for certain areas, including footpaths in Eaton Mall and Kingsway, to be smoke free. No smoking is allowed in these prescribed areas from 19 October 2021.
Significant community consultation occurred prior to the introduction of the Local Law, with 400 residents and 100 traders (all selected at random) surveyed. Among residents 87% supported the introduction of the Smoke Free Local Law, with 84% of traders giving their support.
The people who stole Council property are rejecting their own community and the overwhelming support for this change by their fellow residents and traders. Council will be replacing the signs and warns those responsible not to remove again.
It’s time families and people returning to our precincts after lockdown eases can enjoy a meal or a coffee without having to put up with cigarette smoke polluting their environment.
Council has contacted Victoria Police who will be investigating the theft. There are penalties that apply ranging from $500 to $2000. Police will be looking at any CCTV from shopkeepers and speaking to any witnesses.
There are reports of a group of young men seen removing the signs. Council will strongly support Victoria Police in the prosecution of anyone found to have stolen these assets.
Anyone who witnessed the removal of the signs please contact 1800 333 000.