Vandalism in Christchurch redzones prompt return of patrols

Source: Radio New Zealand

Christchurch City Council is set to restart security patrols as part of the earthquake-damaged redzone due to increasing vandalism.

Christchurch's earthquake-damaged redzone.

Patrols in the redzoned land, which was cleared of housing the Canterbury earthquakes, were stopped after the land moved from the management of Land and Information New Zealand to the Christchurch City Council in June last year.

Burwood Community board representative, and Dallington Residents Association member, Bebe Frayle said the vandalism and graffiti in the area increased substantially when the patrols stopped.

"Our ‘Welcome to Dallington’ sign got stolen, we've had every bit of furniture we've put into the red zone, like picnic seating, has all been destroyed and or stolen. One day we came along and a whole big picnic table had just been demolished."

Three new bridges had just been installed in the area, replacing bridges damaged in the earthquakes, and Bebe Frayle said all three bridges had been subject to vandalism and theft, adding $200,000 to the cost of the projects.

Frayle said the damage and thefts were gutting because the work within the redzone is not council funded but donated by members of the community.

Another item stolen in the last few days was a large macrocarpa table stolen from a children's play area within the redzone.

The large macrocarpa table stolen from the children's play area.

The table was within a play area, called Adventure Ave, which is being designed and built by children from nearby Banks Avenue primary school.

The play area is one of a number of projects being overseen by the Avon-Ōtākaro Network within the redzone land.

Avon-Ōtākaro Network spokesperson Hayley Guglietta said the table was a substantial size, about three metres long by two metres wide, and would have taken several people to remove it.

"It's one thing to take from a public space but it's another thing to take from a public space built by kids and designed by kids. It's such a big piece of wood that someone must know someone whose got it. "

She said she suspected someone had taken it to use in their own backyard.

Hayley Guglietta said there would be no questions asked if it was returned, and they would come pick it up if necessary.

Bebe Frayle said the security patrols would start Saturday 4 June and operate on weekdays from 5pm to midnight, and on weekends from midday to midnight.

The security patrols will also have a community phone which people can contact if they see concerning behaviour.

The patrols will focus on the Avon-Ōtākaro regeneration zone, where a number of community projects are underway.