“Blatant vandalism” is how Gore man Rod Bell describes the way vehicles have churned up areas of Walnut Grove into a mud bath.
The grove in East Gore is formally known as the Woolwich St walnut plantation and is under Gore District Council jurisdiction.
Mr Bell said he often walked his dogs in the grove and was very upset about the damage the vehicles had caused.
“It just disappoints me.
“It doesn’t do much for the bogan Goron view that people have of the people of Gore,” Mr Bell said.
There was a track giving people access to the reserve but in some places people had driven off them to avoid potholes.
“It’s all muddy now – it used to be nice, clean gravel, rough as guts but it’s all hard rock.”
The track was now four times as wide as it should be.
In other places people drove where there was no track.
“There’s the odd time you see them bellying out .. and dragging the sump through.”
A 200m strip near the road had been turned into a rutted area that looked similar to a ploughed paddock.
“This is just blatant vandalism,” Mr Bell said.
Eucalyptus trees were planted at one end of the reserve.
“They’ve been doing donuts around them.”
One day when he was at the reserve, Mr Bell saw a car being driven where it was not supposed to.
“Unfortunately I didn’t have my phone with me so I couldn’t get a photo.
“I was waiting for him to slide into a tree – he came .. very close to it.”
He suspected the drivers causing the damage were young.
“[In] the car that I saw doing it was two young fellas and they thought it was hilarious.”
If the area flooded, as it was prone to do, there would be an even bigger mess because there was no grass cover.
“There’s nothing to hold the soil there .. it will just scour out and become a great big bloody hole.”
Mr Bell was so annoyed by the damage he wrote a letter to The Ensign‘s editor.
In his letter he said:
“I am sure other rate payers, and the council, are annoyed and angered at these acts of intentional vandalism.
“It is not only the destruction of a pleasant recreational area but the drain on council funds, raised from us the rate payers, to rectify the wanton damage done to this community resource.”
At the end of the letter he had a message for the drivers.
“Your selfishness, disrespect and lack of respect for community resources certainly does nothing to improve the vision of Gore and its residents.”
Gore District Council parks and reserves manager Ian Soper said it was very disappointing to see the damage at the Woolwich St walnut plantation as well as Hamilton Park and riverside reserves.
“The council and staff are very unhappy with the actions of a few clowns and their driving antics.
“The wilful damage and destruction created on a recreational reserve is disgusting, and those responsible need to be held to account for damaging a community asset,” Mr Soper said.
He asked anyone who saw people driving where they should not be to report this to the council as soon as possible.
“Residents can report information by taking a photo, filing an Antenno report, ringing the council or the police.
“We need to catch these culprits and make an example out of them.”
Generally, the vehicles used appeared to be older 4×4 vehicles such as Toyota Surfs, Nissan Terranos, and various older 4×4 utes.
“[They] have large knobbly tyres that do not just spin on the grass surface but act like a plough in wet conditions, creating a bog literally in minutes,” Mr Soper said.
“The damage caused will cost all ratepayers to rectify and is unfairly caused by the selfish actions of a few.”