Arsonists torch People’s Park play area - demolition may result

Mid and East Antrim Mayor Audrey Wales said the vandals destroyed a very important resource for children
Mid and East Antrim Mayor Audrey Wales said the vandals destroyed a very important resource for children

Vandals have torched one of the best loved children’s play areas in Ballymena’s award winning People’s Park complex.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor Audrey Wales MBE has reacted angrily to news of the damage caused by vandals atthe park on Sunday night, (23 April).

Damage at the play area

Damage at the play area

“The extent of the fire damage is significant and has meant that fencing will have to be erected around the whole multi-play area to keep children from entering.

“In effect, this mindless act means that our children are now being denied the chance to play outdoors throughout the summer months.

“It looks like the structure cannot be repaired as the uprights have been badly burnt making it structurally unsafe, which is a dreadful shame,” said Cllr Wales.

She added that the very earliest the structure could be removed and replaced will be well into the darker nights in the autumn.

A burned piece of equipment

A burned piece of equipment

“This kind of conduct is wholly unacceptable and I am very annoyed that this pointless act of sheer vandalism has destroyed a very important resource for our children.

“As we are now into the brighter nights when children should be outside enjoying the park, this is particularly galling,” she added.

Pending reports, most if not all of the play area equipment will have to be demolished and replaced at considerable cost to the ratepayer.

“At the present time this is estimated to be a figure well in excess of £65,000 representing an unnecessary and added burden to the Borough’s ratepayers,” Cllr Wales concluded.