Iconic track un­der at­tack

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By MATHEW GROCOTT

Van­dal­ism along the length of the Te Wai­hou walk­way has left Neil Sin­clair ‘‘dis­gusted’’.

The South Waikato District mayor is among many peo­ple left shocked by the dam­age caused to the walk­way along the Wai­hou River on Novem­ber 14.

Most up­set­ting for Mr Sin­clair were the num­ber of trees, many planted by school chil­dren, that were set alight.

He is call­ing on any­one who wit­nessed the van­dal­ism, or who sees such acts in the fu­ture, to con­tact the po­lice.

Pu­taruru po­lice have charged four peo­ple in re­la­tion to the van­dal­ism.

The quar­tet ap­peared in court last week on charges of in­ten­tional dam­age and break­ing into a car.

Po­lice are still in­ves­ti­gat­ing and may place fur­ther charges.

SWDC parks and prop­erty man­ager Greg Shaw said he hoped any­one found guilty of the van­dal­ism would be tasked with re­pair­ing some of the harm they caused.

‘‘They’ve tagged ev­ery­thing in sight,’’ Mr Shaw said, ‘‘lit fires along the way and bro­ken into cars.

‘‘You won­der what the men­tal­ity of these peo­ple is.’’

Among the worst hit ar­eas was around the sec­ond toi­let on the walk­way in an area known as the camp ground.

‘‘There’s been quite a bit of dam­age to trees. We’ve done a lot of plant­ing there in the last eight to 10 years with school kids.’’

Pho­tos of the dam­age were shown at Thurs­day’s meet­ing of SWDC’s Com­mu­nity and As­sets Com­mit­tee.

Com­mit­tee chair­woman Jenny Shat­tock said the dam­age was dis­ap­point­ing.

‘‘Te Wai­hou is a fea­ture of our district and we get some thugs com­ing in van­dal­is­ing it, it’s such a shame.’’

The night be­fore Te Wai­hou was van­dalised sev­eral trees were pulled out at Jones Land­ing and used for a fire by free­dom campers.

Mr Shaw said as a re­sult of this lat­est piece of van­dal­ism at Jones Land­ing the coun­cil would have to look at clos­ing the re­serve to campers.

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