Kitchener’s Poppethead Park has once again been targeted by criminals, with security fencing stolen over the Labour Day long weekend.
Ken Victor – who was a founding member of the park’s management committee in 1989 – discovered the most recent incident last Tuesday.
Mr Victor was at the park to varnish the picnic tables when he found eight panels of fence surrounding the historic Aberdare Central poppethead had been removed.
It was the second time this year the park has been targeted on a long weekend – a jetty on its dam was destroyed by fire over Easter.
Mr Victor was saddened to see the damage at the park where he and many other volunteers have put in countless hours of love and care over the years.
The committee spent several years working to restore the site and the poppethead itself.
These days Cessnock City Council looks after the maintenance, mowing, toilets and barbecue but Mr Victor, now 85, helps out “when he has time”.
He has also been heavily involved in lobbying for infrastructure to improve the park.
The security fencing was installed in 2014 after council received a $140,000 grant from NSW Crown Lands. The grant also went towards a playground upgrade.
“The iconic structure and its links with our past has made the park a favourite with locals and visitors to the region,” Cessnock Mayor Bob Pynsent said.
“Poppet Head Park is such a wonderful place for the community, it is so disappointing a small portion of the community choose to do the wrong thing by stealing and damaging community infrastructure.”
Anyone with information about the theft should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Meanwhile, the council officially opened the latest upgrade at the park on Monday morning.
These works included a new pathway and improved car parking.
Mr Victor and his wife Jean, along with students from Kitchener Public School and principal Luke Somerville joined Cr Pynsent and council staff for the opening.
“The recently sealed carpark and connecting pathway improves the accessibility to the picnic areas and other amenities,” Cr Pynsent said.
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