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$70,000 damage after vandals smash up Orange City Council construction equipment

June 6, 2023

Construction of the new roundabout on the corner of Dalton and Clinton streets, with (inset) mobile CCTV cameras. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

By David Fitzsimons

Vandals have smashed every window in three of Orange City Council's heavy construction vehicles working in the centre of town, causing about $70,000 damage.

Orange mayor Jason Hamling said he was “a bit appalled” by the damage and urged anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

Council director of Technical Services Ian Greenham told Tuesday night’s city council meeting the damage had delayed work on a roundabout at Dalton and Clinton streets.

He said there was “significant vandalism to three items of plant on site that left [them] inoperable”.

Greenham told council: “Every window in every item of plant, the three items of plant that were stored there, the excavator, the grader and the roller were all damaged. We have got CCTV cameras up in place now.”

And he said it was part of a wider and far more expensive problem.

“We’re not the only ones that have been struck,” he said.

“Some of the private developments have been hit with damage up to and including $1 million, is what’s being anecdotally reported.”

Meanwhile, construction of the first fields at Orange’s long-awaited Bloomfield sporting precinct is set to start soon.

Current groundworks are slated to finish in August, with work on the fields to start soon after.

Staff told the council work construction of the athletics field and two stadiums would follow once designs, tenders and approvals were completed.

And it was told public access to part of the Jack Brabham park site would open soon.

Council Community and Cultural Services director Scott Maunder said weather would be a crucial factor in the work.

“We’re probably about mid-end August to complete all the initial groundworks and drainage, which is worth about $8.5 million," he said. The whole project has a $59.5 million budget.

“Then we’ll move onto the construction of the multi-purpose fields," Maunder said. "They’ll pretty much roll straight into that.”

Maunder said the athletics track would be built to national standards, but not for international accreditation requirements.

“We’re trying to hit a pour date of the athletics track of early next year.”

He said it needed to be done in the warmer months.

“If we miss that date then it wouldn’t be until the end of next year before we could pour the track.”

In other news, council has rescinded its approval of a development application for a housing estate on Maramba Road.

Site of proposed development. Google Earth.

After council approved the DA last month it has changed its mind amid concerns over loss of trees and vegetation plus design issues.

Council staff will now seek to meet with the developers within the next month to ask them to consider changes.

Councillor Jeff Whitton said council was acting in an "unprofessional" manner by approving and then rescinding approval.

Deputy mayor Gerald Power responded by saying that councillors were free to change their minds in a democracy.

Council approved a small housing development on Sharp Road and Anson Street that will see 34 trees removed.

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