Fed up with vandals

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 23/01/2014
Henderson Graffiti

MORE GRAFFITI: Plywood replacing smashed glass on the Henderson pedestrian overbridge has also been vandalised.

Henderson Graffiti
MORE GRAFFITI: Plywood replacing smashed glass on the Henderson pedestrian overbridge has also been vandalised.

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Ratepayers have forked out $140,000 in the last two years to repair vandalism on a Henderson pedestrian overbridge.

Five window panels were smashed during the latest attack in November.

The bridge sits above the rail and bus stations on Railside Ave and is attached to Auckland Council's Henderson service centre.

The council's regional operations manager John O'Brien says about 20 panes of glass have been smashed over the past two years.

Each pane costs between $5000 and $6000 and must be shipped from Australia. November's damage will cost $28,500 to repair.

Henderson Massey Local Board chairwoman Vanessa Neeson has had enough.

She says the pedestrian bridge has faced prolonged acts of vandalism but this is the worst she has seen.

"Nothing can excuse this sort of behaviour.

"It's the poor ratepayer that has to pay for it and we could be doing something else with that money.

"We need to find a solution. The police should throw the book at these people."

The council believes the vandalism is caused by groups of youth who throw rocks from the rail lines and from a nearby Japanese garden.

The rocks in the garden have been removed and will be glued back in place to deter the culprits.

"There have been a number of security incidents on the overbridge," Mr O'Brien says.

The most significant was an arson in 2011 that destroyed a lift.

"There have also been a number of security cameras damaged, minor damage to the interior of lifts, as well as graffiti."

An arrest has been made relating to the latest window panel smashes and a suspect is due to appear in court.

Mr O'Brien says the council is seeking reparation, something it actively pursues in all vandalism cases after reporting the act to the police and offenders are identified.

"We are currently investigating options for changes to the design of the bridge to reduce the costs of vandalism, this may mean a change to the design or materials on the over-bridge."

He says there is good security camera coverage of the bridge and the building, and the council has a proactive security team.

"We are actively deploying security during high risk periods," Mr O'Brien says.

A police spokeswoman says the Henderson community constable deals with any type of vandalism and works with stakeholders including the council, Tag Out Trust, Auckland City Rail, Auckland Transport and retailers to address wilful damage and tagging.

THE NUMBERS

$140,000 – the cost of damage on the pedestrian bridge in the last two years

$28,500 – to replace the five window panels smashed

$5000 – the cost of one pane of window glass.

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- Western Leader

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