Community project smashed

Why? Tracey Leishman and her son Daemon (11) fix a vandalised community fruit and vegetable stand on their property in Calton Hill last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A Dunedin woman who built a community project wants to ask the vandals who destroyed it one question: Why?

Tracey Leishman, of Calton Hill, said she installed a community fruit and vegetable stand at the front of her property in Riselaw Rd about four months ago.

The community quickly engaged with the activity, putting food such as surplus strawberry plants, leftover lemons or residual rhubarb for people to take.

People dropped off empty jars in the stand and others would return them filled with home-made jam.

The stand was brimming with items when a vandal paid a visit to it last week.

About 4am on Wednesday, a neighbour’s dog barked but the warning came too late – the damage was done.

The stand had been knocked down, packets of jelly crystals had been emptied on the footpath, strawberry plants thrown around and glass jars smashed.

A metal sign screwed on the stand, with the words “feel free to take what you like and drop off anything you have spare” had been ripped off the stand.

Now a second sign has been installed which reads: “To whoever who trashed the stall, next time take some food back to your family instead of wasting it, a surveillance camera is now operating, thanks to community support.”

The stand was damaged in a similar way about two months ago and the community bought two security cameras.

The first camera installed near her house had failed to capture any clear footage of the vandalism.

The second camera near the stand was about to be installed.

Hundreds of people from across Dunedin used the stand.

“People do need it.”

She wanted to ask the vandal one question.

“Why? This is for the whole community, including others who are less fortunate.”