A reckless act of vandalism overnight has burnt down 12 metres of Lake Curalo boardwalk between the netball courts and soccer ground, threatening to start a bigger fire in nearby tea tree bush and adjacent Eden Marine High School.
The vandalism spree also saw a bank of four otto bins adjacent to the AFL ground torched and another bin at the skate park completely burnt out.
The boardwalk was well alight at 5.30am this morning when Phillip Strickland and Dave Kelly from the BVSC Eden Town team did their morning drive around.
They immediately rang 000 and a fast response by the Eden Fire Brigade saw the fire put out.
In its wake is a still-smouldering, completely burnt out mess of around 12 metres of boardwalk, built by volunteer labour in 2005.
The damage is so extensive, Phillip Strickland and Peter Ferencz of the town team believe that, structurally, the boardwalk may need to be demolished another 10 metres before it can be safely rebuilt.
“I started work at 5.30 am. I went for a drive round that way and it was well alight then. I rang the local fire brigade,” Phillip Strickland said
“It had been burning for a good few hours.
“They've lit the garbage bin. It was full of garbage from the weekend. That’s spread to the boardwalk. They done the bin bank near the AFL field and a bin near the skate park toilets as well. All that damage in a matter of 100 metres.
“As soon as I saw it, it nearly brought tears to my eyes. Allan Gibson arranged and built it with volunteers and then this happens. I don’t know what satisfaction they get out of it,” Mr Strickland said.
Eden resident Allan Gibson was chairman of the Eden Foreshore Committee at the time that part of the board walk was built in 2005.
"It was built by a whole group of people, mainly volunteers, that were supervised by builder Paul Swane," Mr Gibson said this morning.
"The West family were also involved and construction students from Eden High School and Work for the Dole people too.
"It's such a shame," he said.
The Eden Town team have been working hard to have the township ready for this weekend’s flagship Whale Festival events and the influx of visitors it brings.
Town team member Peter Ferencz is bitterly disappointed at this most recent act of vandalism.
“When visitors come from all over the place to see the Whale festival – it’s really disappointing that this happens,” he said.
“The bin was lit which burnt the boardwalk - that’s what caused the problem. We will relocate the bin to another location so it’s not next to the boardwalk. Imagine if it had of got into the tea tree and into the school…it doesn’t bear thinking about.
“I don’t think they (the vandals) knew what could happen. Vandalism of this extent is surprising because it’s been pretty quiet lately.”
“Sometimes the toilets are just a massive mess but that’s improved since we’ve been locking them overnight.”
However that didn’t stop one vandal from defecating in the sink of the disabled toilet at Cocora Beach yesterday.
“It’s only this week we’ve had some little things such as one dirty person deciding to defecate in the sink of the Cocora Beach toilet,” Phillip Strickland said.
“It’s difficult, but you get through it. I copped it twice recently and copped it again yesterday. Sometimes we clean it up and come out spewing,” he said.
The Eden Town Team is now hoping the community will be on the alert for any further destructive behavior.
“We hope the community will keep a look out for these idiots.”
Eden Police are investigating the Boardwalk vandalism.