Reserve falls victim to arson, again

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012
Liz Walker
JASON OXENHAM / Fairfax NZ
SCORCHED: Liz Walker is concerned about the arson of some newly planted grasses alongside Meola Creek.

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A "much abused" community reserve in Sandringham has again been targeted by an arson attack.

Up to 50 native grass shrubs at Kerr Taylor Reserve were deliberately set alight on Saturday night in an incident that could have easily got out of control had it not been for the swift action of a nearby resident.  

Firefighters were called to the reserve about 6pm to douse the blazing bushes which line a drain feeding Meola Creek.

Three boys, one riding a bicycle, were seen in the park minutes before the fire was discovered.

The incident happened just weeks after the reserve was set light in a Guy Fawkes blaze.

The St Lukes Environmental Protection Society, which takes a particular interest in Meola Creek and the surrounding area, is keen to make sure the damage doesn't continue.

"It could have expanded up to the apartments," spokeswoman Liz Walker said.

"The fireman said if it got hold of the poplars they would have had a problem.
 
"I don't think these kids were thinking. They're not aware of the repercussions being physically threatening and to the wider community if these things keep happening."

Over the years the society has planted hundreds of trees and plants in the neighbouring Roy Clements Treeway and advocated the construction of a boardwalk which transformed the area into a popular thoroughfare and link.

Walker said to have an important community asset wilfully damaged was a shame.

She hoped to convince the Albert-Eden Local Board to invest in initiatives aimed at fostering a greater sense of community ownership.

"We'd really love to have people from the wider area engaged and productive and helping us with planting - owning it if you like."

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