Playgrounds continue to be the target of vandalism

Published on 15 February 2022

Vandalism at Conaghan Park Playground

Acts of vandalism continue to impact our Region in 2022 after significant and costly damage was caused to Conaghan Park Playground in Gracemere.

Parks, Sport and Public Spaces Councillor Cherie Rutherford said it is extremely disappointing that there are people in our community who would wilfully damage a children’s play area.

“Destruction to the Conaghan Park playground has been an issue for over 5 months, with council crews required to implement temporary fixes to the equipment,” Cr Rutherford said.

“Recently, crews attempted a temporary repair of a section of the playground to allow residents to continue using the equipment until a permanent replacement section arrived, however the repairs were destroyed in under an hour of its completion.

“This kind of behaviour not only affects the families and children in the community who use the playground but creates a substantial cost for the council to rectify the damage.

“From damage to the concrete, the swings being purposely cut, holes burnt into the equipment, and various pieces of equipment missing, the playground has been severely impacted by vandals.

“The vandalism inflicted on Conaghan Park alone is estimated at $17,000, and unfortunately, this is not a simple replacement with the repairs anticipated to take months.

“Council is currently taking measures to ensure the equipment can continue to be used safely with provisional repairs installed and regular monitoring of the area conducted.”

Divisional Councillor Ellen Smith said as the damage was done by vandals Council was unable to claim any insurance.

“In the 2020/21 financial year Council spent $140,000 of the budget on incident based maintenance, with the majority of this spent on repairing acts of vandalism to council facilities, including parks and playgrounds,” Cr Smith said.

“I am very concerned and upset with the continued misuse and vandalism of public facilities across the Region.

“Council has invested a great deal of time, resources, and funds into the development of assets for the community’s enjoyment, and it is distressing to see playgrounds, parks, and amenities defaced.

“The funds and time spent rectifying the damage to areas like Conaghan Park can be better used elsewhere and ultimately puts other projects in jeopardy as the funds are diverted to repair the defacement of public property.”

Cr Rutherford said the majority of our community does the right thing, and we thank you for your assistance and apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time.

“Council will never be able to fully eliminate this type of behaviour, but with community help, we can work together to stop the people committing these types of crimes,” Cr Rutherford said.  

“We urge anyone participating in acts of vandalism to stop and think carefully of the repercussions of your actions, this seemingly harmless fun has serious and costly consequences for our Region.”

Please report any damage to Rockhampton Regional Council on 1300 22 55 77 or to Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.