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Manuka mystery as stadium sabotaged

Date

Hamish Boland-Rudder

Wires spill out of the vandalised light at Manuka Oval.

Wires spill out of the vandalised light at Manuka Oval. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Mystery surrounds a vandalism attack on one of the new light towers at Manuka Oval, with police examining if a perimeter fence was bent to gain access, and an inner south residents group saying no local would have been responsible.

ACT Policing began an investigation on Monday after electrical workers installing the light towers found about 30 cables cut by pliers when they arrived at work on Sunday.

While there is no known motive for the attack, ACT Economic Development Directorate capital works director Hamish McNulty said it would be a ''sad situation'' if it had been done in protest.

One of the six field lights went up at Manuka Oval on Thursday.

One of the six field lights went up at Manuka Oval on Thursday. Photo: Melissa Adams

''I'd be very disappointed if this was the way someone chose to indicate their displeasure about the lights,'' Mr McNulty said.

''We did a lot of consultation and were open to public comment. It'd be a sad situation if it has come to that, and I personally don't think it has.''

The installation of the lights is a decades-long dream for Canberra sport fans, who have waited patiently for the chance to watch AFL and cricket under lights.

Wires were cut at the base of one of the newly-installed lights over the weekend.

Wires were cut at the base of one of the newly-installed lights over the weekend. Photo: via Twitter / @AffinityET

The delay was partly due to strident opposition in the local community, caused by concerns about light pollution. But that opposition has softened considerably in the last decade and there were only two objections to the development application.

Inner South Canberra Community Council chairman Gary Kent said residents of the area had accepted lights were inevitable. Concerns about the ground had more to do with parking and traffic.

''I have no doubt that the vandalism was not caused by local residents,'' Mr Kent said. ''They just wouldn't do it. The people I know in the community are all very responsible. They've made their concerns known through the right channels.''

The damage is not expected to delay completion of the six towers and will not impact on Ricky Ponting's farewell under lights when he leads the Prime Minister's XI against the West Indies on January 29.

The repairs are expected to cost between $1000 and $10,000. While relatively minor, Brendan Read, director of the electrical company working on the project, said the damage was demoralising.

''It just hurts the workers,'' Mr Read said. ''There's probably just the disappointing part of turning up yesterday and finding that some of the cables have been cut.

''Yesterday we had 11, 12 guys on site, and they're just down.''

Coincidently a group of local residents in inner city Sydney gathered on Monday night to protest the testing of lights at Drummoyne Oval in the inner west.

7 comments

  • Find the person that opposed these lights the most,and I would gather you would find your culprit, this is so typical of Canberra, I am surprised somepeople let us move on from the horse and cart. And Merry Christmas to all the staff at the Canberra Times, and all the readers.

    Commenter
    Martin Says
    Location
    Canberra
    Date and time
    December 17, 2012, 10:00AM
    • Person that did this is not bright. When I work in the electronic trade we were taught to act like every wire was live (Much like a gun is loaded until proven otherwise). The worst part is, that if the nutter had killed himself doing this, this could have become a case of industrial manslaughter. (Why was the live wire accessible to idiots clause or whatever they call it).

      At the end of the day, the vandal did a dangerous thing that could have gotten themselves killed.

      I wonder if that would be worth the 'protest' they did.

      Commenter
      Aydee
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      December 17, 2012, 10:12AM
      • Obviously some Manuka (or near-by) resident that does not want the lights to go ahead.... Very tpical attitue of that particular part of Canberra.... "I dont like it so ill spoil the fun for everyone" eg: Water Ski racing on LBG, GMC 500.... etc etc..

        Commenter
        Shogunmatty
        Location
        Reality
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 11:05AM
        • Does this count as an act of terrorism?

          Commenter
          Ben
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          December 17, 2012, 11:29AM
        • Shogunmatty you are so right and all the other excitment the minority nimbys have had consecutive governments patronise to them about for the last twenty years.

          Commenter
          COOL OLD DOG
          Location
          ACT
          Date and time
          December 17, 2012, 11:54AM
        • Spot on mate.
          Can't wait for the night games to begin!

          Commenter
          Deutsch
          Location
          Canberra
          Date and time
          December 17, 2012, 12:35PM
      • Well done one again we prove ourselves as a back hick place, you want to something big but cant cant have it in my backyard.....................grow up, as a 40 odd year local (yes born here) lets move forward and accept that we have a wonderful city and lets embrace sporting events and anything we can to promote our town.

        Commenter
        Peter
        Location
        Local
        Date and time
        December 17, 2012, 10:34PM
        Comments are now closed

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