A strategic operation by thieves to steal turf in front of Coalcliff Surf Life Saving Club over Christmas has been labelled “un-Australian” by Wollongong’s lord mayor.
New grass was laid last week as the final phase of restoring the area which was previously ravaged by an East Coast low weather event.
Over at least three nights from Christmas Eve, the culprits waited for lifeguards to leave the secluded northern Illawarra club before carefully slicing and lifting up the grass. So far up to 20 square metres has been stolen.
“It’s a pretty low act,” Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.
“It’s obvious someone knew about it or had some background knowledge of the location because it is a bit concealed… and it’s been so neatly excised.”
Cr Bradbery said council workers had put in a lot of effort with the refurbishment of the Coacliff ocean pool, new ramp for lifeguards’ jet skis plus the regeneration of the vegetation – only for it to be ruined in a “self-centred” and “greedy” act.
Surf club captain Rob Deacon said for months the area looked as though a bomb had hit it but was finally looking finished for summer.
“It was sort of funny when we first looked at it but it’ll just turn into a quagmire unfortunately,” Mr Deacon said.
“It’s finally looking pretty again … then someone comes along and starts stealing the grass.”
Cr Bradbery urged anyone who has had lawn laid recently to make assurances the grass came from a reputable supplier and not hand-picked from a community area. While anyone with information to the whereabouts of the missing greenery should contact authorities.
“It’s a wonderful location and was refurbished for all the summer visitors and people who want to get out and enjoy the location,” Cr Bradbery said.
“It would have been great to have the turf in place because of the rain and warm conditions would have meant it would be established by winter next year.”
The matter has been reported to Wollongong police who say they are currently investigating the matter.