Dohhh! the donut's done for

BY BECK ELEVEN
Last updated 05:00 28/09/2009
springfield donut fire
DAVID HALLETT/The Press
MMM, SMOKEY: The Springfield donut, an innocent victim of suspected arson.

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The Springfield donut is toast.

On Friday morning, the donut's future as a tourist attraction hung in the balance. It was the subject of a resource consent hearing.

On Friday night, it was the target of an arson attack.

Like the Eiffel Tower, the structure was originally meant to be temporary.

It was unveiled in July 2007, and given a six-week resource consent to promote the premiere of The Simpsons Movie.

The 3.5-metre-diameter donut proved so popular with locals and tourists, that the Springfield Township Committee applied for permanent resource consent.

Township committee chairman Bill Woods said it was suspicious that the donut was set on fire the day of the consent hearings.

"This was planned," he said.

"Someone's buggered the donut. It wasn't revellers from the pub. These people used firelighters; there was still one or two left after the fire burned out and a keroseny smell."

He said some opponents saw the doughnut as a visual degradation of the landscape while others thought the town should "not associate with American cartoons about dysfunctional families".

Volunteer firefighters were not alerted to the smoking donut because it was made of polystyrene encased in fibreglass. The polystyrene disintegrated without flame, while the fibreglass melted only at the rear.

"There's an additional hole in the doughnut," Woods said. "It will be rebuilt, maybe this time out of concrete."

He said the donut would be the subject of "hot discussion" at tomorrow's meeting of the township committee.

Springfield Hotel owner Malcolm West said talk was rife over the arsonist's identity.

"It must be the most photographed item in New Zealand, every single campervan stops here ... I'm pretty p..... off."

Sammy Northcott, who works at the Springfield Garage, said the burnt donut was a hot topic among customers.

"We've had a few locals who are quite grumpy about it," she said. "It's already cost taxpayers quite a bit to go through the consent process and then it gets burnt on the day they had the hearing."

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- The Press

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