Entry blocked to stop damage to grounds

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No way through...Pioneer vil lage and museum secre tary Nancy Stronach and Gore Vintage Car Club maintenance supervisor Keith Nunn stand in front of the plough that has been placed on the shingle track leading to the duck pond at the club’s grounds to stop vehicles entering. Speed ing vehicles have been entering the club’s grounds and causing damage to property and the track. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Gore Vintage Car Club members have put the brakes on people driving dangerously in its grounds.

The club owns about 1.2ha on the corner of Waimea St and State Highway 94 where its rooms and the Hokonui Pioneer Village and Museum are located.

A shingle loop track runs from the Waimea St entrance and used to allow cars access to the stream and duck pond at the end of the grounds.

However, members have blocked access to the pond by putting up barriers and soon gates will be installed at the Waimea St entrance to stop people from driving in after hours.

Club maintenance supervisor Keith Nunn said club members had a “gutsful” of drivers misusing the grounds.

“Before we put all these obstacles in the road they would come in here at 90-mile-an-hour and skid and break windows and just about run over people that are here, Mr Nunn said.

He conceded his estimation of how fast the drivers were going was exaggerated “but they come in here sideways”.

“You can see all the potholes and skiddies.”

Other acts of vandalism included a fence being pushed down with a four-wheel-drive vehicle, a bollard marking the edge of the entranceway bridge had been knocked into the stream and rubbish from takeaway meals had been left at the grounds.

The problem had become worse in the past six to nine months and it involved drivers in the 16- to 30-year-old age range, he said.

“[It is] not only males.

“Females in fancy cars do broadsides in here too.”

People thought the land belonged to the Gore District Council but it had been owned by the club for more than 40 years.

He felt sorry for those people who did not misuse the grounds.

“People take their kids down to feed the ducks.

“It’s a shame for those ones.”

A minority had spoilt it for the majority, he said.

Hokonui Pioneer Village and Museum secretary Nancy Stronach said police had been contacted about the situation.

“By the time [police] get here they’re gone [those drivers doing damage].

“Police have got other things to deal with.

“This is petty.”

The speed restriction for the area was 10kmh but ‘they even see that and it’s big enough to see”.

It was disappointing to have to deal with the misbehaviour of a few as both groups were mostly run by volunteers who wanted to promote Gore, she said.

“We like to give Gore a presentable name, that is a place to visit.”

Senior Sergeant Cynthia Fairley, of Gore, said police were disappointed “the continued anti-social behaviour and blatant disrespect” at the grounds had led to gates being installed.

“This is an area that has had a lot of time, money and volunteer time put into it and is valued by our local people, walkers and families,” she said.

“The actions of a minority affect the majority of good responsible people in our community.”

Police preferred to prevent crime through the use of security lighting and the installation of CCTV cameras.

Police valued calls for help and would try to attend incidents.

“If anyone has information regarding this type of behaviour they can contact local police or anonymously on crimestoppers 0800555-111 or online.”