Scout hall extensively damaged in vandal attack
Ettalong Scout Hall has suffered thousands of dollars of damage as the result of vandalism on Sunday, March 19.
The damage was not found until Monday March 20, when a Scout leader attempting to access the hall could not enter the building through the front doors.
He walked around the back of premises to discover vandals had forced their way into the Hall.
The damage was extensive: every cupboard had been opened, every fire extinguisher used, holes were made in walls and doors, lounge chairs slashed and turpentine spilt on the floors.
Police were contacted and the hall was roped off as a crime scene.
Scout leader Mr Stephen Bishop said: "Nothing was stolen thankfully, but not a single room went untouched.
"Every internal door needs to be replaced and the entire hall needs to be emptied and deep cleaned before anything else can be done."
He said the hall will be unusable for a minimum of four to six weeks, if the insurance process runs smoothly.
Mr Bishop said he was waiting on an insurance assessment to total the damage bill.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Mr Scot MacDonald, has announced a grant of $5000 to the Broken Bay Scout Group to assist in their recovery from the attack.
Liberal candidate for Gosford, Ms Jilly Pilon, met Mr Bishop and inspected the damage on Thursday, March 23.
Mr Macdonald said: "In response to the call for aid by Ms Jilly Pilon and the damage report to the Ettalong Scout Hall and equipment, contact was made with Mr Bishop who described the losses and cost estimate to restore the hall.
"The government would like to help the Ettalong community and Broken Bay Scout Group to repair this important asset and replace equipment.
"Fortunately, the Scout Group does have insurance, but there will be a shortfall with cost of making good the premises," Mr Macdonald continued.
Ms Pilon said she was heartbroken when she saw the damage.
"This really hurts the Scouts and their families," Ms Pilon said.
Mr Bishop said the grant would be used to provide the hall with extra security.
"This grant will come in very handy when we beef up security after quotes are delivered and the hall is in a suitable condition for work to begin," Mr Bishop added.
Mr Bishop said he had been inundated with offers of help from the Peninsula community and beyond.
"It's truly amazing the outpour of offers and donations we've received.
"I've had so many people from across the Peninsula offer to donate items or to help with the clean out or rebuild and the generosity is just astounding.
"It truly is the Australian way to help out your own and that sentiment is certainly alive on the Peninsula and the wider Central Coast.
"We hope to get the Hall back in shape as soon as possible so we can get the kids back in there having fun," Mr Bishop said.
SOURCES: Media release, 27 Mar 2017
Scot MacDonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast
Interview, 29 Mar 2017
Steven Bishop, Broken Bay Scouts
Reporter: Dilon Luke