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Stolen road signs and lifebuoys endangering lives

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

People stealing road signs and lifebuoys are endangering people’s lives and costing ratepayers more than $160,000 a year.

Council has had to replace at least 10 lifebuoys taken from the Tolaga Bay Wharf area over the past five years, which cost more than $1,100.

Community lifelines director David Wilson says the lifebuoys are there to save lives.

“This is a huge health and safety risk for our community and our visitors. We have communicated this issue with Surf Lifesaving NZ and in the interim have temporary surveillance installed.

“We recently bought more lifebuoys and lifebuoy covers for public safety.

“Council have also spent more than $1,200 to repair ongoing vandalism of the safety signage installed at Tolaga Bay Wharf.”

Thefts and vandalism extend to road signs as well.

Council’s roading contractor Downer reports it spent $161,567 on replacing or repairing road signs over the past year.

Mr Wilson says the most common problem is accidental sign damage, however, 61 signs are missing.

“This is costing ratepayers for both the new signage and the labour required to install them.

“Most importantly, it’s putting people’s lives at risk. Gisborne hasn’t got a shop to go and buy these signs. They must be ordered in and because of COVID the turnaround time is unpredictable.

“If you see the theft of any sign or lifebuoy, please let us know.”

You can do this by using the GDC FIX app on any smartphone, calling us on 0800 653 800, email service@gdc.govt.nz or via the eFix service on Council’s website.