Match Off After Pitch Vandalism: Ongoing damage at Putaruru’s Totara Park is angering the community and sparking fears public access could be restricted.
In the latest incident a vehicle damaged the football pitch so badly that the Rangers team had to cancel its final game of the season.
Manager Derek Roberts, who has been with the club since the 1960’s, said although not the first time vehicles have damaged the grounds, it was the worst he had seen.
South Waikato District Council parks and reserves manager Phil Parker said the damage was “frustrating”.
“Staff and contractors find this behaviour equally annoying as park users,” he said.
“Our staff and contractors work hard to maintain our parks, reserves and sports grounds for our community and to see them treated with such disrespect is very frustrating.”
Parker said prior to the latest incident the council’s contractor was due to begin the bi-annual turf renovation programme.
“This will continue, however, obviously, this part of the grounds will now require some additional work and effort,” he said.
He said the ongoing damage was costing ratepayers.
“Sadly this is not an isolated incident,” he said.
“There is a cost to ratepayers to repair this kind of damage which is unfortunate, but the greatest cost in this instance is that the Putaruru Rangers had to forfeit their last game of the season. That’s really disappointing.”
Parker said the council was disappointed that the actions of a few people were ruining things for the majority.
“Those responsible for this vandalism should be held to account. Unfortunately without eyewitnesses that is close to impossible,” he said.
“We would encourage anyone who knows anything to contact the council or the police.”
Senior Sergeant Jason Henderson said he wasn’t aware of any reports being made to police.
“We haven’t received any report as yet. That is quite often the thing, if we don’t know about it we can’t actually do anything about it,” he said.
“More often than not we find people don’t want to bug the police because we are already busy and all the rest of it but if there is a trend and it is annoying people then we need to know so we can look into it.”
Henderson said such incidents could lead to public access being restricted to such facilities.
“These people will end up ruining it for everyone,” he said.
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