Vandals target Masterton saplings

By Nathan Crombie

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OUTRAGED: Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson is fuming after vandals snapped in half a half-dozen sapling oriental plane trees overnight Saturday in the Masterton Town Square, which Mrs Patterson had helped open less than four months ago. PHOTO/NATHAN CROMBIE WTA230314NCSQUARE01
OUTRAGED: Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson is fuming after vandals snapped in half a half-dozen sapling oriental plane trees overnight Saturday in the Masterton Town Square, which Mrs Patterson had helped open less than four months ago. PHOTO/NATHAN CROMBIE WTA230314NCSQUARE01

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson is outraged at vandals who damaged saplings in the Masterton Town Square on Saturday night during a weekend spree of attacks on young trees in the town.

A passer-by had made a report to police about the town square damage, which came after an earlier attack on a single sapling in the square and damage wrought on several young trees in Essex St.

The Essex St saplings had been attacked on Friday night, Mrs Patterson said, and cages surrounding the young trees also were damaged.

"At the moment there just seems to be a spate of attacks on young trees. It's completely disheartening and just such a waste."

Mrs Patterson said the attacks on the town square trees had been reported on Saturday night to police, who arrived at the square to find empty bottles of alcohol strewn about the site soon after the vandals had fled.

She had yesterday fielded other reports about the damage from people who had passed the square and were alarmed and disgusted at the damage, she said.

"It's just so annoying and completely frustrating and I cannot understand what kicks anybody gets out of attacking trees like that. Now we have to wait that much longer for the shade these trees are going to eventually provide."

Mrs Patterson said sophisticated night vision security cameras will be soon installed to monitor the square and surrounding streets.

"The cameras will be upgraded at the town square and are due here shortly. They can be used at night and can zoom right in on whatever may be going on," she said.

"I'm hoping that with more sophisticated cameras and heightened security, anybody would have to be silly to even attempt to do this again."

It was wanton vandalism, she said. "If we find them, they will be prosecuted because we simply cannot allow this to continue. Maybe stocks in the town square would be a good idea as well.

"The square is for everybody and when you get a few idiots that come and do this sort of thing, it's not fair to the rest of us."

The square took eight months to construct and was opened in early December last year by Mrs Patterson and Trust House Foundation chairman Craig Cooper.

Donations for the almost $636,000 project, which was conceived by Masterton businessman Dave Borman, came from Trust House, WBS Charitable Trust, Eastern and Central, Borman Family Trust, Lands Trust Masterton, Breadcraft Wairarapa Ltd, Higgins Contractors, and Masterton District Council. Masterton district councillors last month agreed to also pay a more than $110,000 shortfall in funding for the square.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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