Pool, park van­dalised

New at­tacks have com­mu­nity feel­ing ‘un­set­tled’

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE -

The Ber­ri­gan Swim­ming Pool and Ber­ri­gan Apex Park are the lat­est to be van­dalised in what com­mu­nity mem­bers say has been a six month spate of dam­age and break-ins.

Ber­ri­gan Swim­ming Pool com­mit­tee mem­ber Gary Lehre said there was an ‘‘un­easy’’ and ‘‘un­safe’’ feel­ing spread­ing across the com­mu­nity as the in­ci­dents con­tinue.

He said at the pool, its out­door fur­ni­ture and a near-new bar­be­cue have been dumped into the deep end of the main pool.

Rub­bish was also thrown in, and Mr Lehre said no-one can un­der­stand the mo­tive be­hind it.

‘‘What would make some­one break into a public swim­ming pool and throw a bar­be­cue along with fur­ni­ture and rub­bish into the deep end of the pool?’’ he asked.

‘‘We pur­chased the bar­be­cue last swim­ming sea­son for $600 and it is not sal­vage­able as it was under wa­ter for at least four days.

‘‘We used that bar­be­cue to raise money for the pool, so we can con­tinue to make it free to swim.

‘‘The ta­ble, as it is solid wood, can thank­fully be re­tained.

‘‘The com­mit­tee con­sists of vol­un­teers work­ing hard to pro­vide a free en­try pool to the com­mu­nity of Ber­ri­gan and is re­paid by some heart­less res­i­dents want­ing to take this away from us.’’

Mr Lehre said the pool is funded by char­ity events and bene­fac­tors — busi­nesses and lo­cal res­i­dents who want the fa­cil­ity kept open and free — and that their gen­er­ous do­na­tions would now have to be used to re­place or fix dam­aged items.

And he said with other ar­eas of the com­mu­nity also tar­geted in re­cent mo­ments, the com­mu­nity is start­ing to feel ‘‘un­set­tled’’.

‘‘I have only lived in Ber­ri­gan for three years, and the whole feel has changed in the last few months,’’ Mr Lehre said.

‘‘There has been a lot of van­dal­ism in Ber­ri­gan in the last six months, in­clud­ing the breakin at the cafe and at the net­ball courts.

‘‘And now our Apex Park play­ground has been par­tially closed due to on­go­ing dam­age.’’

Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil en­ter­prise risk man­ager Michelle Koop­man said the van­dals have gone to ex­treme ef­fort to punch holes in the solid plas­tic play equip­ment at the park.

She said a num­ber of dec­o­ra­tive items have also been dam­aged, which she said are no longer made and are un­able to be re­placed.

‘‘We had an in­ci­dent at the week­end where some­one got their foot caught in one of the holes, so we think the dam­age was caused a few days ear­lier,’’ Ms Koop­man said.

‘‘We’ve had to close that part of the play­ground un­til re­place­ment equip­ment can be sourced,.

‘‘Coun­cil has also had a num­ber of carpark so­lar lights dam­aged re­cently, but most of the dam­age had been to pri­vate prop­er­ties.’’

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the break-ins and van­dal­ism.

Ber­ri­gan Swim­ming Pool com­mit­tee mem­bers Tom Pyle and Peter Cobb as­sess the dam­age cre­ated by van­dals.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.