30 May 2024

Vandals strike again at Eden sportsground, six months after last attacks

| Albert McKnight
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The recent damage to the toilets at the Barclay Street pavilion resulted in most of the facilities closing for repairs. Photos: BVSC.

There has been yet another wave of vandalism in the Far South Coast town of Eden and police are urging anyone with information about the costly incidents to come forward.

The toilet facilities at the Barclay Street Sportsground sustained damage on the evenings of 16, 17 and 18 December 2023.

Bega Valley Shire Council said the vandals destroyed the door of the accessible toilet and left extensive damage to the Wave toilet block, forcing both facilities to close for a time.

About six months later, the sportsground’s toilet facilities were again damaged on the evenings of 18 and 26 May 2024, while the nearby facilities at Pambula Beach had also been damaged on 6 April.

In the first attacks in May, vandals destroyed the interior walls of the Barclay Street Pavilion toilets, including the accessible toilet, which forced the facility to close.

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“The accessible toilet will remain closed until significant repairs can be undertaken, which really impacts local and visiting sporting clubs that use the facility,” Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said.

The second incident in May then reduced the facility to just one available toilet.

Mr Fitzpatrick said the assets served a crucial role in helping people enjoy the area and described vandalism as “a needless drain on public funding that our community cannot afford”.

The Barclay Street Sportsground toilets were closed after attacks by vandals in December 2023. Photo: BVSC.

In 2022, it was estimated vandalism was costing Bega Valley Shire more than $10,000 each year.

“It’s upsetting to see these ongoing senseless acts, especially after the recent efforts to update community assets at the Barclay Street precinct,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“Not only do these repairs divert funds from other public projects, but they also impact vulnerable community members.

“Aged residents, families and those with mobility issues rely on open toilet blocks and unexpected closures can cause them significant distress.”

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He said the incidents had been reported to local police.

A NSW Police spokesperson said officers were investigating the vandalism, but no arrests have been made.

The spokesperson said if residents had any information on the incidents, they can call local police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Also, if residents see anything suspicious, they can contact the Police Assistance Line 131 444 or in an emergency contact Triple 000.

The Barclay Street Sportsground is between Eden High School and Aslings Beach and hosts facilities for cricket, Australian Rules, soccer, netball and tennis.

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