Council response to break-in shocks volunteers

Damage inside one of the ransacked Tidy Towns Committee
rooms at Carinya Education Park.

MEMBERS of two of New Norfolk’s hard-working voluntary groups are dumbfounded that the Derwent Valley Council did not see fit to advise them of a recent break-in at their shared headquarters.

Extensive damage was discovered in one of the buildings at the Carinya Education Park in Blair St yesterday morning when Derwent Valley Tidy Towns members went to collect additional equipment for one of their regular community clean-ups.

When they reported the finding to the Derwent Valley Council – which leases the building from the Crown – they found that the council had known about the incident for a fortnight.

A Tidy Towns spokesman told the New Norfolk News that the council did not regard the damage as significant. However, photos show that extensive damage was done to walls and doors as well as to the contents of the rooms.

The building is also used by the Friends of Frescati to store equipment for its working bees at the historic house and garden they care for at Willow Court. The Carinya building is also used by a number of other community groups for meetings and storage.

Every unlocked door was kicked in and graffiti was painted
on many walls and doors.

The Tidy Towns spokesman said that far from being insignificant, the incident at Carinya amounted to breaking and entering, burglary, vandalism and destruction of property. “A window was broken to gain entry and once inside, every locked door was kicked in,” he said.

Rooms were ransacked, property was thrown around and special paint intended for use in graffiti clean-ups was instead used to deface the walls and doors. Members of the two groups are all the more disheartened by the council’s response because they are official council volunteers and members of council committees appointed under the Local Government Act.

The Friends of Frescati also lost equipment earlier this year when the council provided the keys to Frescati to a third party without notifying the Friends. This resulted in the removal of a ladder, wheelbarrow, garden tools and an A-frame sign, which have not been seen since.

A member of the Friends of Frescati attended a recent council open forum to ask why the council appeared to have developed a negative attitude to so many of its committees. No answer was given.

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