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The lawn at the entrance to the old Paeroa Racecourse has been ripped up. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Driver rips up Paeroa racecourse

Reckless disregard of Paeroa’s old racecourse has been described as “disappointing and sad” by a former Mayor who doesn’t want to see the gates closed to the public.
In 2020, Wayne and Chloe Wright purchased the 33.5 hectare former racecourse with the intention of developing it commercially and residentially, as well as opening it up for community use after years of being closed to the public.
But an act of vandalism which saw the driver of a white station wagon do “wheelies” within its grounds could risk the private property’s open door policy.
“I’m disappointed that there are some people in our community who would want to take advantage and do that sort of thing to generous benefactors of the town,” Basil Morrison said.
“Someone must know who did it, and surely they must be disappointed because I certainly am.”
Mr Morrison is a former mayor of Hauraki, and now is the “legs on the ground” for the Wright family. He keeps an eye on the racecourse and coordinates usage of the space.
Not only have markets and festivals been held on the grounds, but there have been luncheons hosted and organisations housed, and Mr Morrison said people using the space donate a koha which is given to the earthquake-strengthening fund at the Paeroa RSA.
The vandalism occurred around 11am on Monday, November 28 and was captured on video, which has been shown to the Police.
Mr Morrison said he didn’t want anybody “locked up” over the situation, but the offending was still serious.
“There was such a push-back when the previous owner shut the gate and no one was allowed in. The community was very upset about it,” he said.
“The new owners got bolt cutters, cut the chain and opened the gates, and they haven’t been shut since.
“So, while I understand these things happen… surely when you hear of people doing good things, you’d be a bit more respectful.”