New playground is torched

Community fundraisers say their ‘‘heart has been ripped out’’ after vandals set fire to a playground less than a year after it was opened.

The blaze was discovered shortly before 8pm on Tuesday night, at the Kelvin Drive playground in Moodiesburn, totally destroying the toddler section. The remnants have had to be removed by the council for safety reasons.

A community group had fundraised for years to have the play equipment upgraded.

This week chairman of Moodiesburn Community Development Trust Willie Dolan said: ‘‘It’s ripped the heart right out of us, but we will not stop.’’

One of the main fundraisers was local mum Gayle McGovern. She said: ‘‘We are gutted, the toddler area is totally ruined. People are absolutely shocked by it, it was definitely not accidental, this is vandalism. It’s a minority ruining it for the majority.

Councillor John McLaren heard about the news at a meeting on Wednesday night. ‘‘I am totally disgusted at the vandals and their mindless act, destroying this for the kids.

‘‘Parents of Moodiesburn, if you hear anything about this or find out who has done this mindless act don’t be shy, report them to the police. It is totally heartless.’’

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: ‘‘Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have been assisting throughout and inquiries are continuing to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police on 101.’’

There had been a playground on the site for many years, with old run down equipment and the campaigners worked hard to secure funding from North Lanarkshire Council, WREN and CultureNL Ltd.

A council spokesman: ‘‘The partnership group worked tirelessly for two years to make the play park a reality and create a space which encourages local young people to meet, play and be healthy.

‘‘All the play equipment was chosen by pupils of the two local primary schools and includes a Storymaker multi activity unit, trampoline, seesaws, springers, tyre swing, junior multi activity unit, five way metal swing and cableway. The large Storymaker multi activity unit which was a key play feature in the toddler area was set on fire and damaged beyond repair so the unit had to be removed.’’

Councillor McVey spokesperson for CultureNL Ltd said “These acts of vandalism are very disheartening and have a direct impact on the children of Moodiesburn.

‘‘We are determined to give the children in North Lanarkshire the best play opportunities possible therefore I am delighted that our partners North Lanarkshire Council will fund the cost of replacing the damaged climbing unit thus returning the site to the exciting and fun play space the children deserve