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Council may close toilets

The public toilets at Queen Elizabeth Park in Masterton could be closed overnight due to repeated vandalism.

There have been three reports of vandalism at the park in less than two months, including broken windows, graffiti, and a damaged cricket pitch.

Masterton District Council [MDC] said yesterday that the public toilets – or exeloos – in the park had been tagged with spray paint over the previous three nights.

It follows another incident where a car was illegally driven over the cricket pitch and playing block at the park last month.

Almost two weeks later, there was an attempted break-in at Coronation Hall.

Community facilities and activities manager Corin Haines said he is disappointed to have to think about closing the toilet facility overnight, but the ongoing vandalism leaves him with little choice.

“I’m very disappointed that the actions of a few people mean an entire community could lose access to a facility,” he said.

“For the past few days, our team has had to clean up mindless tagging around the park that has happened the night before.”

Most recently, that vandalism had been aimed at the toilets, he said.

“It’s idiotic, and it’s expensive to clean up. This is our community’s asset being targeted, and the community’s money being wasted. I would encourage anyone seeing people tagging or damaging public property to contact the police immediately.”

The damage comes as the park has been awarded the international ‘Green Flag’ quality award for the fifth year in a row.

“While it is not practical or cost-effective to have security staff patrolling an area the size of Queen Elizabeth Park, the council will continue to monitor existing CCTV footage,” an MDC spokesperson told the Times-Age.

“Steps are also being taken to investigate any unusual sales of spray paint with local suppliers,” they said.

– NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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