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Hoons return to leave their unwanted marks

 

Grass areas at Henley Lake Park were turned into dirt tracks. PHOTO/GEORGE SHIERS.

Masterton’s grass continues to be shredded by racers, with new acts of vandalism emerging in the district.

A mere two weeks after Queen Elizabeth Park was turned to mud, a second act of vandalism saw several grass areas at the southern end of Henley Lake Park destroyed by vehicle tyres.

The damage covered several large areas near the wetlands at the park, showing vehicles had raced around trees, benches and paths.

A Masterton District Council spokesperson said the council did not have figures on the cost of repairing community assets that were vandalised but said there was a budget for maintenance.

“The vast majority of the public enjoy the parks and don’t do that sort of thing.

“Repair work happens in spring, and nature has a way of fixing it.”

He said legal action was also a costly and lengthy pursuit that the council had to weigh up.

“If there is evidence, we might look to pursue that [prosecution], but at this stage, no evidence has been provided.

“The real balance is providing accessible spaces for people to enjoy, but if you limit access to one group, there are flow-on impacts to others that you must consider.”

In a separate incident on Millard Ave in Kuripuni on Tuesday night, drivers racing up and down the road ended up tearing up grass on both sides of the street as they lost control of their vehicles.

A Millard Ave resident said she regularly heard powerful cars speeding down the street.

“This happens regularly down our street even though it’s a residential area, 50k zone.

“This is mostly because it has no footpaths or streetlights, so hoons find it a perfect spot to race down the entire length of the road, fly around the bend and inevitably lose control ending up in the very muddy verge needing to be towed out.

“I wonder if this could be addressed and perhaps looked into as it will be a similar type of vandal that has messed up our lovely Queen Elizabeth Park.”

Manager of Wairarapa Road Safety Council Bruce Pauling said the key steps to reducing road racing were education and enforcement.

“There is a cohort of not just young drivers but all ages that choose to ignore road safety messages and choose to become involved in street racing.

“It’s a tough nut to crack,” he said.

“All we can do is educate them on the laws and consequences.

“However, in saying that the only way some will change their behaviour is if they get detected, so enforcement is really important.”

Pauling said that although offences were trending downwards, it was important the public reported street racers to the police.

“Our young driver crashes and offences relating to graduated licence and breaching conditions is decreasing, thanks to combined efforts, and hopefully, that trend will be maintained.

“We rely on the public to get information; they are our eyes and ears.

“And there a number of actions police can take, including seizing a vehicle or suspending licences.”

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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