Community patrols around East End Reserve have been put into high gear in an effort to stamp out vandalism at the boy-racer hot spot.
Vandalism, burnouts and graffiti at the popular seaside spot have skyrocketed since the western side of the reserve was closed off to traffic at night and video cameras installed to monitor activities at the Mt Hobson car park.
A current favourite activity among boy racers involves removing bollards and doing wheelies and burnouts on the reserve's grass areas.
In response to this New Plymouth Community Patrol co-ordinator Jonathan Weatherall said volunteer patrols were now at the seaside reserve up to eight times a night, seven nights a week. The area was previously patrolled just three nights.
"It's not a long-term solution because we would run out of people to volunteer. What we are doing is we are patrolling every night until a long-term solution can be found by the police and the community," Mr Weatherall said.
Councillor Shaun Biesiek also believes it is the community that will stop the destructive behaviour costing the community hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"I do think the community have had enough of this sort of thing. It's not just at the East End area. It goes on at Lake Rotomanu and other places," he said.
Damage in the last few weeks at East End has already cost the council $10,000, money Mr Biesiek said would come out of a budget marked for something else.
"It's got to come out of something. We will have people coming to us saying they want one of those nice-to-have things and we'll have to say the money isn't there," he said.
Vandalism could cost as much as one per cent of council's operating expenditure, about $1.2m, Mr Biesiek said.
It cost the community in other ways, such as the high price of new public toilets.
"It's $120,000 to build a toilet because you have to make the thing so hard to vandalise they don't trash it. If that wasn't happening you could probably build a toilet for $30,000."
Vandalism can be anonymously reported though the New Plymouth District Council "iCouncil" smartphone application.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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