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The Aucklander

24 December 2009

Our story illuminated a problem that dogged Te Atatu Girl Guides. Now they no longer walk in the dark. Joanna Davies finds out more.

The Girl Guides who meet at Te Atatu South Park each week now walk in safety to meet their parents after their meetings.

In June, The Aucklander reported that vandals and a lack of lighting in the park were causing big problems for the Te Atatu troop.

But guide leader Lynne Anderson says lights went on almost as soon as the story ran. Waitakere City Council installed extra lighting between the park's car park and the guide hall.

"It feels much safer,'' says Mrs Anderson.

"The light stays on until 9pm, which gives us time to finish our meetings, and the park gates are locked at 9.15pm, which gives us time to lock up.''

She says the lights have made it easier for the neighbours to take walks in park later in the evenings.

While there is more light, Mrs Anderson says this hasn't deterred vandals from targeting the guide hall. "Our downpipes have been taken again, and there is more tagging.''

Over the years, louts have tried to set fire to the building and the doors are coming away from their hinges where people have tried to break in.

Mrs Anderson would like more security in the park, because repairs cost the club a lot of money.

Waitakere City Council spokeswoman Lisah Henry says the council was unaware of the most recent vandalism and has reported it to police. She says council officers are looking at other ways to make the park safer.

"Next financial year, the toilet block will be relocated to a more visible site and we could look at increasing random security checks of the park. The council has already undertaken a range of measures to address security concerns raised earlier this year.''

Since June, new lights and bollards have been installed and the council is trimming vegetation to make sections of the park more open.

"The police have increased patrols in the area and, with our crime prevention officer, have met with local residents to work with the neighbourhood support group already well established in the area and promote guardianship of the park,'' says Miss Henry.


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