Rotorua vandals are costing the Bay of Plenty Regional Council thousands of dollars and delaying the completion of important projects.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council works foreman – Upper Kaituna Daniel Batten said machinery had been vandalised in a range of different incidents.
"Every effort is made at the risk assessment stage of work planning to keep our gear safe however, we have still experienced some incidents of wilful damage," he said.
"It is not practical to have machinery transported offsite daily."
On October 19, 2020, at the Brookdale Reserve in Ngongotahā, dirt was put into the diesel tank of a tractor during a weekend while it was left on site.
The tractor was being used for flood damage erosion repairs on the Ngongotahā Stream bank.
"This resulted in needing a mechanic to be called out, fuel tank removed from the tractor, taken back to the workshop and cleaned out and brought back to site, then refitted to the tractor," Batten said.
"The cost of repair was $880 and one-day downtime."
On November 17, 2020, at the Norrie Place reserve in Rotorua, an excavator was broken into.
It was being used on tree and debris, stream blockage, and flood hazard removal in the Utuhina stream, Batten said.
"Door locks were damaged, a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and basic tools were stolen. The machine was repaired by staff. The replacement for tools, first aid kit, and the extinguisher cost approximately $300."
April 17 and 18 this year, on private land off Stembridge Rd, Ngongotahā, a tractor and an excavator were broken into.
They were being used for flood damage repairs and spillway maintenance.
Batten said ignitions and electrical systems were damaged, door locks broken and a window smashed.
"Fire extinguishers were stolen and discharged onsite," he said.
"The cost of damages isn't in yet, however, it is estimated to be $2000-$3000.
"Machinery has had to be transported off site for repairs which will cost a further $1000. There has been one-week downtime and a setback on the works scheduled in this area."
Batten encouraged members of the community to contact police if they saw any suspicious behaviour around machinery on the stream banks or in local reserves.
"The landowners adjacent to the work sites have been fantastic with looking out for our gear and providing us with secure parking areas but in some cases, vandals have trespassed to carry out damage.
"Our machinery and that of our contractors is required to be available at a moment's notice to provide essential flood protection services should it be needed during a flood event. This sort of wilful damage and vandalism compromises that capability.
"We do try our best to have works completed within an acceptable timeframe so as not to disrupt the recreational use of these areas and these setbacks are expensive and inconvenient to the whole community."