Vandals tear up riverbank
The ‘‘stupidity of the 1 per cent’’ has caused $10,000 worth of damage to a river reserve in Marlborough, with the ‘‘99 per cent of ... law abiding’’ Marlburians expected to foot the bill.
More than 100 willow and poplar poles, used to control erosion and flooding, have been destroyed near the Wairau River by vandals in four-wheel-drive vehicles in the past few months.
In one incident at the Peninsula Road Nursery site, near Spring Creek, vandals destroyed a steel gate and dislodged three concrete blocks anchored with wire rope to break in and drive over plantings.
Marlborough councillor Geoff Evans said at an assets and services committee meeting last month the incidents were ‘‘utter stupidity’’.
‘‘It’s stupid behaviour and it can’t be condoned,’’ Evans said. ‘‘It must have been planned in order to pull concrete blocks out, and that doesn’t make sense to me.’’
A report to council showed ‘‘at least $10,000’’ had been spent repairing the gates, and buying concrete blocks and wire rope to secure the at-risk berm areas.
Councillor Cynthia Brooks said the lengths the vandals went to by removing concrete bollards and chains ‘‘beggars belief’’.
‘‘My thoughts on the damage are of real disappointment, that the person or persons who carried out this mindless destruction of flood protection planting’s could let their whole community down in this way,’’ she said.
‘‘It all comes at a cost to everyone, not to mention our rivers staff who are doing their utmost to protect the plains from flooding.’’
She said most recreational opportunities that took place around Marlborough’s rivers and streams occurred on council reserve land, such as picnicking, boating, fishing and swimming.
‘‘The freedom to do these things is appreciated and enjoyed by the 99 per cent of our people,
who are respectful and law abiding,’’ Brooks said.
‘‘I worry that the stupidity of the 1 per cent might, in time, erode the rights of everyone else by way of more restricted access to such places.’’
The report said there had been a ‘‘long history’’ of damage and vandalism to river protection works in the region.
Typical examples included the dumping of burnt out cars, illegal rubbish dumping and damage to berms, plantings, fences, gates, signs and stop banks thanks to vehicles, it said.
But Brooks said she had not read a report on such ‘‘mindless destruction’’ since she was appointed councillor in 2013.
‘‘Dumping of rubbish is a perennial and annoying [thing] but this wanton destruction is something else again,’’ she said.
A long-term review of how the Wairau River system would be managed and protected in future was being planned by the council.
Brooks urged river reserve users to act as the ‘‘eyes and ears’’ of the community and report vandalism to police or the council.
‘‘It would have been so much better if these clowns could have been caught in the act and made accountable for their actions,’’ she said.
Contact Blenheim police on (03) 578 5279 or the council on (03) 520 7400.