THOUSANDS of dollars and many hours of work have been needed to fix damage from a long list of vandalism attacks at one of Albury-Wodonga’s most attractive tourist spots.
Wodonga Council and Parklands Albury Wodonga staff have compiled the list of damage at Huon Hill in the past nine months.
Since May last year, the authorities have recorded more than 20 different cases of vandalism, including hacksaws being used to cut gates and picnic tables, graffiti on sign-boards, stolen plaques, circle work in picnic spots, as well as bollards and boom gates ripped out of the ground.
In some cases, gates were damaged beyond repair and in another instance, new boom gates were ripped out of the ground and dumped in the picnic area only three months after the previous ones had been destroyed.
The long list of attacks have cost several thousands of dollars to fix, coupled with the hours of work required to make the repairs.
Parklands ranger Stuart Roberton said every time he went up to check on the area, he came across yet another case of damage.
“It’s just really disheartening,” Mr Roberton said.
“Just about everything up there has been vandalised.
“It’s frustrating and Parklands has a very limited budget as we’re not-for-profit.”
Parklands manages the lookouts but council looks after the parklands around it.
The council’s natural resources co-ordinator Andrew Griffiths said vandalism kept visitors away from the area.
“It’s a beautiful place to go and experience and it’s just being ruined by the thoughtless acts of others,” Mr Griffiths said.
The council has installed motion-detecting cameras, hoping to catch the culprits and Wodonga police have tasked officers to patrol the area.
Acting Sen-Sgt Larry Goldsworthy said community vigilance was also crucial to preventing the damage.
He urged witnesses to write down car registration plate numbers and descriptions of vehicles or people if they witnessed hoon driving or vandalism.
The appeal for public help to stem the damage comes at a bitter-sweet time for Parklands Albury Wodonga.
The group was awarded a federal heritage grant to develop story board signage at parkland sites to detail historical information and photos about the area.
Mr Roberton said Huon Hill was one of the planned centrepieces of the project, but he feared it would be a waste if vandalism continued.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Wodonga police on (02) 6049 2600 or Parklands Albury Wodonga on (02) 6023 6714.