Tomakin park vandalism ‘devastating’

Eurobodalla Council says the vandalised basketball pole at Tomakin’s Jack Buckley Park will be replaced, but not immediately.

An angle grinder or similar power tool was used to cut the steel pole near its base some time on Monday, damaging a hoop replaced only a few weeks ago in the process. The damage was reported to Council on Monday afternoon and inspected soon after.

The remaining pole was removed on Tuesday to make the area safe, and the ring and backboard are in storage for now.

Council staff have been in contact with the Tomakin Community Association about the matter since Monday.

Director of community, arts and recreation Kathy Arthur said the vandalism is particularly heartbreaking given the years of collaboration between Tomakin residents and Council to redesign the park.

“We had several hundred community members completing surveys and attending site meetings to talk through playground ideas and other features, and the work has only just been finished, so this wilful vandalism is pretty devastating for everyone,” she said.

Upwards of $150,000 had been spent on the upgrades, with Council adding new playground equipment and an obstacle course, shade sails and a loop track linking the play area with new covered picnic tables, the barbeques, and toilets.

“Recreation projects and budgets are already set for the remainder of this financial year,” Ms Arthur said.

“However, we will plan to replace the basketball equipment in 2022-23, unless savings can be identified earlier from our recreation projects in other neighbourhoods.

“We also have real concerns about the spate of vandalism in Tomakin and what this could mean for installing replacement equipment straight away.

“We understand this is disappointing for Tomakin residents, but we’ll carefully monitor our projects for savings, and keep talking with the Community Association.”

Anyone with information about the Jack Buckley Park vandalism is urged to contact CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit their website.

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