Au­thor­i­ties have called on park vis­i­tors to re­port sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour af­ter a se­ries of van­dal­ism, in­clud­ing the de­struc­tion of two pay ma­chines.

Albany Extra - - Front Page - Tim Edmunds

In­creased sur­veil­lance and pa­trols of the south coast’s na­tional parks and na­ture re­serves will be en­forced af­ter a re­cent spate of an­ti­so­cial and crim­i­nal dam­age which has caused tens of thou­sands of dol­lars dam­age.

Two elec­tronic fee sta­tions at The Gap and Nat­u­ral Bridge in the Torndirrup Na­tional Park were dam­aged last Satur­day night, caus­ing an es­ti­mated $20,000 dam­age and fol­low­ing on from another fee sta­tion be­ing van­dalised ear­lier this year.

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent.

The De­part­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions has con­demned re­cent van­dal­ism which has also in­cluded the theft of park sig­nage, dam­age and theft of gates and in­ap­pro­pri­ate use of four-wheel-drives and off-road bikes on coastal ar­eas.

Tax­pay­ers were also left to foot the bill of the se­vere dam­age to an im­por­tant dune sys­tem in Way­chinicup Na­tional Park which had un­der­gone re­me­dial work cost­ing $6000.

Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice Al­bany district man­ager Peter Hartley said house­hold rub­bish had in­creas­ingly been dumped at Torndirrup and Gull Rock na­tional parks and cars were be­ing bro­ken into.

“The de­part­ment can no longer tol­er­ate such dam­ages against com­mu­nity and nat­u­ral as­sets within the district,” he said.

“In other in­ci­dents park sig­nage has been ei­ther stolen or ma­li­ciously dam­aged to a cost of sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars. In one ex­am­ple, the di­rec­tional sign at Blow Holes in Torndirrup Na­tional Park has been stolen on two oc­ca­sions cost­ing ap­prox­i­mately $2000 to re­place.

“From now on ac­tion will be taken against such un­ruly and crim­i­nal be­hav­iour and the de­part­ment will be in­creas­ing the use of se­cu­rity cam­eras, up­ping the level of pa­trolling and sur­veil­lance in ar­eas where such be­hav­iours are tak­ing place.”

Mr Hartley said the re­cent pros­e­cu­tion of a man found guilty and fined $800 for steal­ing and $400 for the dam­age of a gate from the Bak­ers Junc­tion Na­ture Re­serve was proof the de­part­ment would seek pros­e­cu­tion through po­lice and high penal­ties in the courts.

“The ac­tions of a few in­con­sid­er­ate in­di­vid­u­als were im­pact­ing on the ex­pe­ri­ence of other park users and (the) bud­get that is al­lo­cated for fa­cil­ity im­prove­ments is con­stantly be­ing di­verted to cover dam­ages and thefts,” he said.

Gates were de­stroyed.

Pic­tures: DBCA

Dam­age to dunes at Way­chinicup Na­tional Park.

Fee sta­tions have been se­verely dam­aged.

There have been in­ci­dents of graf­fiti and dump­ing of waste.

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