The Waipā community will soon see the impact vandals are having in the district when council staff cannot complete general maintenance work.
Community Services acting manager Brad Ward made the prediction to the council’s Strategic Planning and Policy committee this week in response to a question about how much vandalism was costing the council.
In his report Ward said tagging and vandalism had risen again in the quarter from October 1 to December 31, resulting in thousands of dollars of repairs and cleaning.
Other work such as sign clean ups and path cleaning, covered by the general maintenance budget, would go on hold.
“That’s where the community will see the biggest hit,” said Ward.
The vandalism was more intentional than opportunistic and showed a general disregard for the council’s assets.
Culprits were using more sophisticated tools and methods, he said.
Cr Roger Gordon asked whether the vandalism was directed at council or the result of social influences.
Ward said he could only assume it was linked to Covid 19 frustration and fatigue.
Deputy mayor Liz Stolwyk said vandalism had decreased at Lake Karāpiro’s Mighty River Domain when CCTV cameras were installed.
“I can highly recommend how great the cameras are. They are brilliant at hindering stuff.” The sooner council installed them in other places, the better, she said.
Cr Lou Brown said vandalism was also occurring in churches, cemeteries and other sacred places.
“We had to put deadlocks on a church to stop people getting in.
“This is costing everyone a lot of money. It’s a very negative practice.”
Some of the reported damage in the quarter includes:
- Ceramic bowl smashed at Thornton Road toilet.
- Hand dryer stolen from Franklin Street toilets ($1000 to replace like for like as it is a new toilet block).
- Barbecue stolen from Ngāroto.
- The waste pipe removed from basin in the toilets at Skate Park, Cambridge for the sixth time.
- The toilets at the Te Awamutu Event Centre had a hand dryer and sink ripped off the wall.
- Holes punched in the walls at Ōhaupō toilets.
- The Kaniwhaniwha Reserve toilets damaged and graffitied.
- The Kihikihi Domain changing rooms were broken into with the doors and fencing damaged.
- Floor tiles burned in a toilet at Leamington Domain.
- Graffiti in most toilets.
- A strainer post at Pukemako snapped as someone tried to gain access to the locked reserve.