'Lewd' acts in park scare residents

By Sonya Bateson

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Lewd behaviour around the public toilets in Rotary Park has left local residents too scared to visit the park.

Unsavoury behaviour taking place in the men's toilets will be the subject of a community meeting in Maungatapu tonight.

Rumours of men meeting for sexual liaisons in the toilets have been rife for years and a Te Hono St resident, who did not want to be named, said she had seen plenty of behaviour which would suggest just that.

"We fear, as women, to go down there. I don't feel safe nobody does. It's just shameful. If these people want to meet, let them meet where they don't disturb people."

Getting rid of some of the trees, opening up the park, putting signs up and having regular patrols of the area may help, she said.

Tauranga South Senior Sergeant Lew Warner said he was aware there had been ongoing problems at the park but would not expand on what the "lewd" behaviour involved.

The meeting was arranged after community members approached Tauranga South Community Constable Leanne Fairbairn with their concerns.

Mr Warner said he would endeavour to be present at the meeting alongside Ms Fairbairn.

A Tauranga City Council spokesperson said police had also notified the council, and a parks officer and Councillor Bill Grainger would be present at the meeting. "I just want to see and hear what the people have to say," Mr Grainger said.

The meeting will be held at Rotary Park at 5.30pm tonight. In the event of wet weather, it will be held at Maungatapu School, 164 Maungatapu Rd.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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