Vandalism leads to domain gate

Vandalism in a small Southland town has prompted fresh measures to keep perpetrators out.

Tuatapere Domain is set for a new gate in the hope it will stop people tearing up the local field.

It follows the installation of CCTV cameras at the site last year in a trial to reduce wilful damage and boost security for the nearby pump station.

With several incidents occurring after the cameras’ installation, the Southland District Council found they had not eliminated the problem.

That included one incident in June last year when the grounds were ripped up by a vehicle which also crashed into a storage building, causing significant damage.

When police requested to review footage from the reported incident, the council could not pull identifying features because of camera quality, security lighting and poor weather.

The cameras had also proven impractical because council staff had to travel to the domain to get footage, and only once the privacy officer had approved a request by police.

Tuatapere Te Waewae Community Board chairwoman Anne Horrell said police expressed a preference for a gate which they would likely take responsibility for managing.

"We’re a bit sad about it, because we like to think that our domain is accessible to all people," she said.

"Sadly, when you get to the winter and you have a car ripping up the oval, they can do an incredible amount of damage, because it’s damaged anyway."

Ms Horrell said the vandalism so far had "been enough that it’s been annoying", as the domain was managed by volunteers.

Although the $1000 camera trial had been ineffective in preventing damage, it would remain in place.

A possible memorandum of understanding between police and the council would also be discussed to allow direct access to footage, Ms Horrell said.

Council staff will now arrange quotes for the new gate.— LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.