Clutha convenience›cleaning contractors continue combating vandalism even as new destination toilets and main›street upgrades appear throughout the district.
‘‘Besides tagging, there are periods where people use the toilets respectfully, then there’ll be a spate where they’re damaged three or four times in a month,’’ Clinton toilet cleaning contractor Katrina Goodman said.
She listed destruction of door›locks and hinges, violent removal of signage and smashing of paper dispensers and sanitary bins, one of which was emptied out over the adjacent children’s playground before Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Mrs Goodman lives directly across State Highway 1 from the facilities and has even had late›night altercations with hooligans attacking them
Clutha District Council contracts the cleaning and maintenance of public toilets to Southland company SouthRoads, which hires local people to take care of the facilities, including Mrs Goodman who is also president of Clinton Senior Citizens. Milton Bruce ward councillor Selwyn Wilkinson is cleaning contractor for Milton’s Union St, Taylor Park and Moore Park public toilets which require six cleanings altogether, seven days a week.
‘‘We had a porcelain toilet last about a day before it was smashed, so they’re steel now.
‘‘The sanitary bins are often just emptied over the floor and paper holders smashed off the walls.
‘‘We know that leaving graffiti attracts more, so I scrub it off if possible or re›paint the walls,’’ he said.
Mr Wilkinson had also heard a rumour that vandals and taggers were posting their criminal activity on social media, possibly goading each to target the other’s hometowns.
Extra invoices were submitted by contractors for vandalism clean›up and repairs, as the work was outside the cleaner’s job description, and this expense, in addition to replacement of costly fixtures is carried by ratepayers.
Both contractors were dismayed that children’s playgrounds were targeted, made guesses at what motivated anger and aggression toward community facilities, and said they thought camera surveillance might solve the problem.
‘‘Drinking is involved, and it’s partly because they [the offenders] can get away with it. There need to be consequences,’’ Mrs Goodman said.
Replacements for Milton’s toilets, which will cater for the district’s cycle trail users, are now under construction as part of the town’s multimillion›dollar main› street upgrade.
‘‘The vandalism, tagging and damage to plants a few years ago was virtually eliminated with cameras and a zero tolerance prosecution policy,’’ Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said.
‘‘While council hasn’t officially considered it for this project, we know it has been a consistent and successful measure to curb the problem.’’
Southroads greenspace manager Neville Gardner was less certain.
‘‘The most damage isdone in Balclutha which is also the area with the most cameras,’’ he said.