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Graffiti & vandalism cost ratepayers thousands

Available for immediate publication
Orewa, 22nd August 2006.

Graffiti & vandalism cost ratepayers thousands

Hard on the heels of a spate of tagging incidents in Warkworth, the council is warning that graffiti and vandalism of public facilities and property is costing Rodney ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and is on the increase.

Rodney District Council’s Parks and Coastal Manger, Ian Murray, says council owned parks are under constant attack from vandals.

“From January to June this year, the cost of repairing or rectifying damage to park facilities was nearly $89,000. In 2005 the cost was over $172,000,” says Mr Murray.

“Despite security measures, it seems some troublemakers are intent on ruining things for everyone else,” he says.

“Vandalism and graffiti escalates to epidemic proportions during school and public holidays, and toilet blocks are repeatedly targeted.

“Windows are broken, toilets are smashed, cisterns and hand basins are ripped off walls and pipes, taps, hot water cylinders and water tanks have been stolen.

“Then you get hoons carving up our sports fields, beaches and reserves in their cars, signs stolen and gardens damaged – it’s not harmless fun, it’s wilful damage and ratepayers are footing the bill”, says Mr Murray.

Mr Murray is concerned that vandalism often goes unreported and is encouraging people to call the Police if they see anyone damaging public property.

“We fix the mess up as quickly as we can, but it feels like a losing battle. We need the public’s help to help Police identify the offenders,” he says.

In the first 10 days of August, the Arundel, Rautawhiri, Arkles Bay and Parakai toilets have been the target of graffiti; at Scotts Landing sections of downpipe between the toilets and tank have been stolen; Pohutukawa and Golden Ash trees in Victor Eaves Park have been damaged; and signs in Orewa covered in graffiti.

The cost of replacing or repairing the damage is about $2,500.


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