Bob Clements is struggling to understand why a tall, thin man in a sweatshirt hoodie has a grudge against his beloved Kawana Waters Surf Life Saving Club.
CCTV footage has caught the determined criminal on camera, committing vandalism offences on two separate occasions in the past fortnight.
Mr Clements, a Kawana Waters SLSC Life Member, said the small Buddina-based community club was forced to switch thousands of hard-earned fundraising dollars away from beach patrols towards repairing vital property and services after the targeted attacks.
A total of five tyres were slashed on the courtesy bus on two separate occasions, gas pipes cut to the bistro kitchen, mangoes thrown over the bus, and other food scraps and rubbish in its vents and over solar panels.
The vandal also tampered with the main fuse box, setting off alarms. The fire brigade had to ensure the surrounding neighbourhood was safe because of the gas fumes.
Help keep independent and fair Sunshine Coast news coming by subscribing to our free daily news feed. All it requires is your name and email. See SUBSCRIBE at the top of this article.
“It puts the bus out of commission because it requires people to physically come out to the club, jack it all up, take all the tyres away and bring it all back,” said Mr Clements, who is also a Kawana Waters SLSC Supporters’ Club past president.
“It’s not an easy exercise, like if it’s only one tyre that we can change ourselves.
“It could have been a day where we had allocated the bus to go and pick up elderly people to come down to the club to enjoy the social environment down here, which we do all the time, especially with the elderly (Kawana RSL) veterans.
“We lost a day’s (bistro) trade because we had to get the gas bottles fixed. It all just compounded.”
Mr Clements said the vandal came prepared with gloves and tools to cut the copper gas pipe. He also left what appeared to be a “calling card”: one egg near the fuse box and another by the slashed tyres.
Duty managers were hard-pressed to remember anyone who might hold a grudge against the club.
“It’s just senseless and a lot of inconvenience and it’s cost us thousands of dollars in billed repairs plus the loss of trade,” Mr Clements said.
After refilling gas bottles and putting in extra security measures, he estimates the club has lost about $5000 that otherwise would have gone towards patrols, training and other lifesaving activities.
The vandalism comes at the worst possible time for the club which, like many other hospitality businesses, is having to cope with decreased patronage due to COVID-19 cases and fears of contracting the virus, as well as staff shortages due to pandemic quarantine rules – all forcing opening hours to be cut back (the club is closed Mondays and Tuesdays until further notice).
Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie called for community help.
Mr Bleijie said he was “disappointed and really sad for the staff and volunteers”.
“It’s completely not acceptable and I hope we catch the grub as soon as we can and throw the book at him,” said Mr Bleijie, who shared the surf club’s post about the latest vandalism to his own Facebook page.
“I just plead with the community that if anyone has got any information to let the police know because we’ve got to track down who’s doing this damage and stop it.
“These crimes are solved because someone says something to someone else and that goes back to the police.”
Mr Bleijie said club volunteers were stretched enough with fundraising without having to compensate for crimes such as vandalism.
Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor with your name and suburb at Sunshine Coast News via: email@example.com
“That’s the saddest thing for me as patron: to see all the efforts of the lifesavers, and particularly our nippers, going down to Kawana Shoppingworld and rattling the bucket,” he said.
“Every dollar they raise goes to protecting and keeping people safe on the beach and now it’s got to be used to fix up and replace tyres and fix up vandalism of the building.
“I’ve spoken to Mark Cordwell, the Senior Sergeant in charge of Kawana Police, and he has assured me police will be doing extra patrols.
“The club has put on additional security – again, all at a cost to our lifesaving.”