Public loos wrecked by vandals

Last updated 06:56 31/12/2013
Liz Davidson

Liz Davidson at the opening of the park named after her

Loo closed
Toilets closed

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People celebrating the new year at Liz Davidson Place in Blenheim tonight might have a longer wait at the loos after vandals caused a "huge amount of damage" to the toilet block last week.

Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Nic Crous said damage to the toilets had started two or three months ago, but had escalated on Christmas Day.

The toilets had been shut since Thursday.

"Over seven years in Blenheim I have never seen [damage] this bad," he said.

The cedar-and-stone block has been open since December last year.

Contractors had been called in urgently to repair the damage in the Liz Davidson Place toilet block, which was so bad new parts had to be ordered for one of the toilets, Mr Crous said. The 24-hour three-toilet block on Queen St had locks and tiles smashed, pipes broken and flush boxes ripped off the walls.

Contractors also had to rip up parts of the concrete floors to get to blockages in the pipes, he said.

Vandals had also targeted the Alfred St carpark toilet block at least three times during the same time, smashing mirrors and damaging air vents.

The Kinross St public toilet, which was not usually a target of vandalism, also had its door dismantled and a sanitary unit ripped off the wall, Mr Crous said.

One toilet at Liz Davidson Place was back in use yesterday and contractors were working to repair a second one in time for the New Year's Eve celebration in the park tonight.

"We really want everything to be open so we can give people the best possible experience," he said.

The third toilet would not be open until new parts arrived.

"It's going to be very costly for the ratepayer, that's for sure . . . and a lot of the contractors are just not available at this time of year," Mr Crous said.

Development of the park cost an estimated $540,000, but the council has not given a breakdown of that, such as the cost of the toilet block.

Mr Crous said the attacks meant the council would have to explore options for security, which may include installing more cameras, or locking the toilets at night.

"We try to have them open because people come out of pubs and restaurants late at night.

"‘We will try to find good locations for [more] cameras and put up signs."

Police had been notified of the vandalism but Mr Crous said it would be hard to identify the culprits because there were no cameras in the buildings.

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- The Marlborough Express


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