SHATTERED: $200k vandal rampage to riverside property
LOCAL businessman Ron Skinner feels as shattered as the 150 broken windows in his property, the former Grafton City Bowling Club, after the latest vandal attack on the building.
Surveying about $200,000 worth of damage and feeling under the weather from medication after a recent knee replacement operation, the normally outgoing Mr Skinner admitted he felt "pretty low".
He said he was in tentative negotiations with a buyer, who had fortunately inspected the property looking its best before the vandals attacked.
But the damage bill, which he estimates at close to $200,000, will have to be paid before he can hand the property to any new owner.
Mr Skinner said the vandalism had been an ongoing problem for a while, but had escalated in recent weeks.
He knows one of the recent attacks, the smashing of one of the large windows on the river side of the building, occurred at 4pm on Saturday.
"I was talking to a young bloke who said he and his friend had come down to the river about 4pm when they saw the window come out," Mr Skinner said.
The determination and tenacity of the vandals has also struck him.
"I've been coming in regularly to check up on everything," he said.
"First up this big window had a few marks on it.
"Then the next time you come back you could see the outline of one of those heavy chairs they'd used to smash it.
"The next time, the whole window is on the ground on the river bank, along with a television set and anything else they could find."
Particularly devastating for a proud Ghosts supporter like Mr Skinner, is that attacks have undone all the good work the club did for him last year.
"The Ghosties players came down here one Saturday as a team and cleaned up the entire club," he said.
"They moved all the furniture and cleaned and vacuumed every square inch of the place.
"There was no broken windows and not a curtain out of place. It looked immaculate.
"Outside they trimmed up all the hedges and generally manicured the whole property.
"To see it like it is now is absolutely heartbreaking."