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Fireworks damage club's astroturf pitch

KARINA ABADIA
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012
HAggitt
FIRED UP: Parnell Cricket Club secretary Bryan Haggitt.

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Damage caused by fireworks at Martyn Wilson Field has angered Parnell Cricket Club, St Kentigern School and the Orakei Local Board.

The astroturf pitch was left with major burn marks on November 11. There were also a few minor instances of damage to Shore Rd Reserve on November 4 and 5.

This comes after various acts of vandalism to the grounds last month (East & Bays Courier, October 10).

Parnell Cricket Club secretary Bryan Haggitt says this latest behaviour is "reprehensible".

The club considered employing a couple of young people to keep watch over the Guy Fawkes period but because celebrations are spread over several nights, it decided the financial cost would be too high.

Mr Haggitt went to check on the grounds on the evenings of November 4 and 5. He asked one family to move off the astroturf on Thomas Bloodworth Park.

"People just don't think. Yes the pitch is smooth but those Roman candles burn the plastic when they burn right down," he says.

St Kentigern School principal Pater Cassie calls the behaviour "ignorant".

"I don't think whoever did this went down there to try to set fire to the astroturf. People have obviously let off fireworks there because it's a flat surface.

"But it has caused a bit of grief to all those cricketers who use the facility. Of course it also comes at quite an expense. We now need to look at how to repair the astroturf or whether we need to replace the whole thing."

Mr Cassie was also disappointed to hear rubbish was left behind which had to be cleaned up by the council the next day.

He says the key is raising awareness of the potential risks of letting off fireworks.

"We need to educate people on exactly what damage it causes. We've got to get that message out to the community," he says.

Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson says it's "disappointing" news.

Fostering better community networks is the answer, she says.

"What we've got to do as a community is work together. We've got to be ever-vigilant and we've got to give police any information we have.

"I think the important message to get across is that if you see something, say something. Leave it to the police to decide if it's unusual or not."

The Orakei Local Board hosted a safety forum on November 4 between police, community patrols and neighbourhood support groups.

"I'm thrilled the community has identified that there is a need to put defence at the top of the list when it comes to safety and we will do anything we can to help," Ms Simpson says.

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Contact the Orakei Local Board for more information on 521 7021.

- East And Bays Courier

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