Netball association 'disappointed' in recent court vandalism
GRAFTON Netball Association has been left to clean up the damage of malicious vandalism on their courts, in the week before the start of their season and first major carnival of the year.
The attack, which took place some time last week, left the surface of one of the Bacon St courts bubbled and cracked, with melted plastic surrounded by burn marks.
Association president Brooke Burton said it appeared someone had set fire to a plastic bottle, which had melted onto the court after burning out, and could cost thousands to repair.
"It's not like you can just sand it off and walk away, there's a crack in the court surface now and you've got to fix it properly, which is expensive," she said.
"When you work hard to maintain the facilities for people to come and play, and spend a lot of time and money on it, to be treated with such disrespect is really disappointing, especially considering that when we found the damage we had a carnival the next day on Sunday."
Despite the damage to the courts, Ms Burton said the Grafton Netball Association's junior representative carnival was a success.
"To have a great day makes everyone appreciative and very thankful, you know the hard work is appreciated and a lot of other associations go through similar things, which is also disappointing but in a way comforting that we're not alone," Ms Burton said.
After a different vandalism attack in 2017 where courts were seriously scratched by people riding skateboards and scooters, Clarence Valley Council responded by installing wooden barriers around the facilities.
However Ms Burton said it was difficult to stop vandalism, even after the installation of CCTV at the clubhouse.
"What do you do, put a fence around it all and lock everyone out so that no-one has access? That's not fair when it's a minority of people who disrespect the courts and then walk away and don't realise what they've done," Ms Burton said.
"Installing cameras has helped the situation but it still comes down to a lack of respect, and it's not a quick or easy fix. That's the disappointing part."
If anyone has information about the recent vandalism they can contact the Grafton Netball Association on Facebook.