Wrong end of the stick: Vandals threaten hockey carnivals

HOCKEY players from across the state will converge on the Orange hockey centre when it hosts the under 13 girls' state championships in July.

But with vandals continuing to threaten and intimidate players and volunteers, Orange Hockey Incorporated president Michelle Stevenson is concerned the city will miss out on future state events.

Ms Stevenson said in the latest incidents, vandals cut a fence, installed late last year, to gain access to the hockey fields as a shortcut.

"People are being threatened, when they say 'you're on private property' they're met with a lot of colourful language," she said.

"We believe there's still a threat to players.

"The first couple of times we didn't call the police, but the police liaison officer has asked us to report everything so there's a record of the worst times."

Ms Stevenson said the group was discussing options with Orange City Council to replace the wire fencing with a more heavy-duty option.

She hopes something is done in time for July's state championship.

"We don't want people going away from Orange telling Hockey NSW they don't feel safe on the hockey fields," she said.

"That would be horrific for us."

OUR SAY: TIME TO GET TOUGH ON HOCKEY VANDALS

Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the council shared the association's frustration about the ongoing vandalism and the hockey centre would be the first area where a new $6000 portable CCTV camera system would be installed in coming months.

"As well as being much more robust than the previous system, the camera will instantly transmit images back to base," he said. 

"This means if the cameras are attacked, the cameras will have already transmitted images of the vandals."

Mr Reeder said since the fence was built between the hockey centre and Orchard Grove Road, council staff have repaired it twice and are about to repair it for a third time after recent vandalism.

"The council is currently getting quotes for the erection of an even more heavy-duty fence," he said.

"There's currently no budget allocation for this work and it's a shame that resources could have to be redirected from another community project because of the attitude of a few."

The fencing was part of more than $40,000 worth of work on the centre the council agreed to in Setember, including the permanent closure of two laneways near Glenroi Heights Public School, a new concrete path, and emergency access gates at the end of Orchard Grove Road.

Mr Reeder said the concrete path was built late last year and the council expected it to be a long-term process to change community habits.

"But there are positive signs that many residents are finding it easier to follow a smooth, well-lit path to the highway via Maxwell Avenue, instead of climbing through holes in fences and then climbing other fences," he said.

clare.colley@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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