Maitland City Council will receive a $22,000 crime prevention grant from the NSW Government to reduce malicious damage and improve community safety at Metford Recreation Reserve, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC announced today.
The funding is part of the NSW Government’s Safer Community Compact grants’ program, which has provided over $500,000 worth of funding this year to help council’s across the state deliver grassroots solutions to crime.
“The program recognises local people understand the crime problems facing their towns and play an important role in addressing them,” Attorney General Mark Speakman said.
Mr MacDonald said a fence would be installed at the reserve to stop the recreational fields being used as an unauthorised race-track by motorbikes and cars, tearing up the ground and endangering others.
“Many locals have stopped using Metford Recreation Park due to motorbikes dangerously riding through the middle of the field as children, as young as three, participate in sports such as Little Athletics, soccer and cricket,” Mr MacDonald said.
“Not only is this behaviour putting people’s lives at risk, but it’s destroying the grounds so no one can use them. While police have increased patrols of the area and charged a number of riders, most of whom are unlicensed and/or unregistered, it hasn’t been enough to stop hoons flouting the law.”
“It is why we are providing funding so Maitland City Council can fence the reserve to prohibit access, reduce malicious damage to property and create a safe space for schools and residents to enjoy these popular sporting facilities.”
Maitland Mayor, Cr Peter Blackmore says “Metford Oval has seen its fair share of damage recently, so this funding announcement is very welcome news for our community. It will also greatly assist Council staff in managing the sportsground.”
Metford Recreation Reserve is the one of the city’s largest sporting grounds and is home to the East Maitland Little Athletics Club. Membership numbers at the club have fallen dramatically over the past three years due to ongoing safety issues at the reserve.
Scot MacDonald | 0408 450 032