Bulli Surf Club has been struck by vandals who have graffitied the building’s walls, windows and signs in a brazen act of destruction.
The community hub was believed to have been targeted last weekend in a string of attacks across Illawarra’s northern suburbs.
The club’s president Jamie Caldwell said that although the building had been vandalised before, nothing compared to this.
“This would be the worst in living memory that I can recall we’ve had,” he said. “It appears that we weren’t the only targets but we seem to have copped the brunt of it.”
He said close to 700 members of the club used the space as well as Wollongong City Council lifeguards and members of the wider community.
“We offer out the building to not only use of our function centre but also not-for-profits and non-government organisations to use for varying meetings and events,” Jamie said. “Now we’ve got our volunteers having to spend their time in dealing with council to work through how to clean it off.”
And because of the extent of the damage, clean-up work could take many hours and cost the not-for-profit money which could otherwise be invested back into their services.
“To remove it properly it gets cleaned off, but it will do damage to the paintwork which then means that part of the building now needs to be painted as well,” Jamie said. “It’s just an added cost that we really don’t need to be dealing with as well as extra energy in having to manage the situation.”
The club was already putting preventative measures in place at its own cost to try to better protect the asset from attacks like this one.
“We have been going through the process of installing security cameras to get a 360-degree view of the building outside,” Jamie said. “That’s something that we were doing in the background to try and prevent this type of a thing happening and obviously we just haven’t managed to get there quick enough.
“It is disappointing that we have to go to that level of looking at those strategies and spending that kind of money as a deterrent.”
Jamie was concerned vandalism was becoming more frequent in the area.
“I would say anecdotally I’ve noticed personally an increase in graffiti around the northern suburbs.
“You look at the comments and some of the messages we’ve received and it highlights that it’s a bit of a growing problem, not just for us but for potentially some of the other surf clubs.”
But while many have taken to social media to vent their frustrations and share their experiences, Jamie urged the community to pursue the proper channels when reporting vandalism so that real change could be implemented.
“It’s just making sure that we’re encouraging the community to get that information into the police assistance line so that NSW police can create the data and get that understanding of what’s happening which would help get the appropriate policing resources for these particular areas.”
If anyone has any information on the attack or other vandalism in the area they can contact their local police district or Crimestoppers on 1300 333 000.