CCTV call for Corrimal's Memorial Park after vandal attack

Rita Rapley with her son Luke, at Luke's Place in Memorial Park, Corrimal, which has been damaged by vandals. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Rita Rapley with her son Luke, at Luke's Place in Memorial Park, Corrimal, which has been damaged by vandals. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A heartless attack by vandals on a disabled children's playground has prompted calls for CCTV cameras to be installed at Memorial Park in Corrimal.

In the two months since the playground was opened, the security gate has been replaced twice, parts of the security fence have been damaged and play equipment tagged with graffiti, devastating the families who regularly use the park.

Seven metal poles have been ripped from the south-east section of the fence, creating a space large enough for a child to escape through if not for orange security mesh currently blocking the hole.

The $250,000 inclusive playground is named for four-year-old Luke Rapley, whose parents Sean and Rita led the push for the park to be built so their son and other children with disabilities could play in a safe environment alongside other kids.

It includes a wheelchair-friendly carousel, a textured section for visually impaired children and a water play area and quiet zones for children with autism or other cognitive disorders.

Mrs Rapley said it was "heartbreaking" to see the equipment that gave her son and other children so much joy damaged.

"It should be a friendly, family place to be and we want to keep it nice and safe for our children," she said.

"I'm very disappointed because everyone in the community put their heart and soul into this project, and a lot of money from the private sector went into it as well. It hurts, it definitely hurts."

The Rapleys are supporting Keira MP Ryan Park's push for CCTV cameras to be installed in and around Memorial Park. He has written to Wollongong City Council and the Minister for the Illawarra urging them to support the project.

Mr Park said he had received numerous reports from concerned residents about vandalism and antisocial behaviour at the playground.

"The playground is a very important part of attracting people to Corrimal, and we want to make sure people feel safe," he said.

"These [vandals] are nothing short of cowards. They are weak, pathetic individuals. This is a playground set up specifically for children and people of all abilities, including some with very challenging disabilities.

"It's nothing short of appalling."

A council spokeswoman said the council would liaise with police to determine if a safety audit of the area was required.

She said the damaged fence panels would be replaced.

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