Panboola Wetlands has once again been the victim of mindless vandalism; this time it has been 4WD vehicles that have caused damage in the much-loved local wetlands. At Easter 2013, signs naming plants and associated wildlife in the Waterbird Sanctuary on Pambula’s Bullara Street were broken and bent in a senseless act of destruction.
In November 2011 the soaring eagle sculpture that had become a symbol of Panboola, was stolen from the Panboola entrance.
The theft shocked and saddened the community who had raised around $6000 to have local artist Richard Moffatt create the symbol of the wetlands that so much work had gone into restoring.
Now a large section of the grass verge has been torn up by 4WD vehicles close to the Oaklands entrance.
Volunteer, Grant Stevenson told the News Weekly: “We understand that this was done by three Victorian plate 4WDs which were driven along the walking track from the Oaklands entrance on Sunday afternoon, April 13. They’ve gone backwards and forwards and made a hell of a mess.”
There are clear tyre tracks from the entrance through to a flooded part of the walking track. The vehicles have been driven on the grass verge churning up the soft and wet turf underneath.
Mr Stevenson said that volunteers would have to wait until the water had drained before starting to make repairs.
President of the Panboola Wetlands committee, Mandy Stevenson said: “I’m really disappointed that some people have chosen to abuse the privilege they have of Panboola because it is a privilege to have this wonderful wetlands here and the volunteers all work so hard to have it looking good.”
Mr Stevenson said that there had already been conversations with council and that it was likely that the pathway would be chained and locked so that it could only be accessed by walkers. He added that emergency services would be given a key in case urgent access was required.