ANGER GROWS AS VAN­DALS CUASE HAVOC

Lions mem­bers dev­as­tated by van­dal­ism

The Western Star - - Front Page - Lucy Ruther­ford lucy.ruther­[email protected]­ern­starnews.com

THREE young chil­dren have been dealt with by po­lice over an in­ci­dent that de­stroyed the new toi­let fa­cil­i­ties in the Lions park on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

A Queens­land Po­lice spokes­woman said Roma po­lice were alerted to the in­ci­dent about 12.30pm Thurs­day, af­ter a wit­ness at the park saw the of­fend­ers in ac­tion.

“Be­cause of their young age, the two ju­ve­niles un­der 10 years of age have been given be­havioural coun­selling, while the other ju­ve­nile, un­der 11, has been for­mally cau­tioned,” the po­lice spokes­woman said.

The van­dal­ism, be­lieved to be caused by some sort of in­cen­di­ary de­vice, melted down the baby chang­ing ta­ble and par­tially melted the so­lar light­ing and toi­let cis­tern.

The old toi­let block was also sig­nif­i­cantly dam­aged.

David Knowles, who was one of the driv­ing forces be­hind the new toi­let fa­cil­i­ties, was left to clean up the mess.

“We worked so hard and for so long with all our fish and chip nights to raise money for the fa­cil­i­ties, and to see such mind­less dam­age is heart­break­ing,” Mr Knowles said.

“I’m just lost for words why some­one would do it.”

The new toi­let blocks in Lions Park opened less than a month ago and cost $48,000 – made up of a $35,000 grant and four years of tire­less fundrais­ing from the ded­i­cated Lions mem­bers.

Mr Knowles be­lieves in in­stances where mi­nors are found to have de­stroyed pub­lic prop­erty, they should be made re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing for the dam­ages.

“It’s just so dev­as­tat­ing. We had got­ten so much feed­back with how happy the pub­lic was with th­ese new fa­cil­i­ties and now it’s all been ru­ined,” he said.

The com­mu­nity ral­lied be­hind Lions Fish and Chips night on Fri­day night, where 390 fish, 105kg of chips and 352 donuts were sold.

“It was def­i­nitely one of the big­gest nights we’ve had, we sold 270 fish last Fri­day so it’s clear the com­mu­nity wanted to get be­hind us,” Mr Knowles said.

“It was great to see that the town were com­ing out and sup­port­ing us, we had peo­ple com­ing up to us say­ing that they had made sure they could come af­ter what hap­pened.”

Mr Knowles said he had been ap­proached by the coun­cil who said that as the toi­let fa­cil­i­ties are a coun­cil as­set, the coun­cil would do ev­ery­thing in its power to fix it.

“All we can do now is keep mov­ing for­ward and get this mess fixed up,” he said.

“The com­mu­nity is an­gry though, we’ve had close to 300 com­ments on our Face­book page when we posted the photo of the van­dal­ism. Some­thing needs to change, I just don’t know what needs to be done to make that hap­pen.”

PHOTO: LUCY RUTHER­FORD

PHOTO: LUCY RUTHER­FORD

HEART­BRO­KEN: Lions mem­bers were left to clean up af­ter chil­dren de­stroyed the new toi­let fa­cil­i­ties.

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