Van­dals take toll on district

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Acts of van­dal­ism are cost­ing ratepay­ers thou­sands of dol­lars each year.

South Waikato District Coun­cil said these fig­ures are an un­nec­es­sary cost.

Coun­cil com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Kerry Fabrie said van­dal­ism is hor­rific and point­less.

‘‘When peo­ple rip plants out, when anti-so­cial be­hav­iour rips plants out, nine times out of 10, it’s ac­tu­ally not the coun­cil that plants them but it’s our chil­dren. Vol­un­teers from the com­mu­nity plant them,’’ Ms Fabrie said.

Acts of van­dal­ism in­clude young trees be­ing snapped in half, tag­ging, sign dam­age and ve­hi­cle dam­age at sports grounds.

Be­tween $8000 and $12,000 is spent ev­ery month re­pair­ing dam­age to plants, and street trees and ve­hi­cle dam­age to sports and re­serves grounds.

Around $10,000 is bud­geted each year for lit­ter bin main­te­nance and re­place­ments, and $15,000 is bud­geted for foot­path cleans­ing each year.

How­ever, re­pair­ing and re­plac­ing road signs is cost­ing $6000 ev­ery month.

‘‘It costs $57 to in­stall a new sign and post but there are the ma­te­ri­als costs on top of that. They can vary be­tween $40 for smaller park­ing signs to $180 for larger stop/give way signs. Also the pop­u­lar street name blades are about $80 de­pend­ing on the num­ber of let­ters,’’ Ms Fabrie said.

The larger ru­ral roads like Wilts­down Rd, Old Taupo Rd, Mos­sop Rd and Camp­bell Rd are the worst af­fected ar­eas for sign dam­age.

Be­tween $48,000 and $50,000 is also funded ev­ery year to com­bat tag­ging.

Ms Fabrie said about $249,000 re­sult­ing from van­dal­ism was put back on ratepay­ers last year.

VAN­DAL­ISM: The Pu­taruru Plaza joined a long list of Coun­cil-owned build­ings that were van­dalised this year.

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