The owners of the Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ) are determined to make it difficult for the park’s vacant roads to be used as burn-out pads, illicit racetracks or illegal dumping sites from here on in.
On Tuesday morning the owners of the massive industrial park began instructing trucks to deposit tonnes of crushed rock on the illegal 4WD tracks that criss-cross the bushland.
A HEZ spokesman told Fairfax Media that police were now patrolling the site along with private security.
The barricading of the 4WD paths is designed to disrupt illegal use of the property. On Tuesday afternoon electricity crews were working to repair damaged power boxes.
The spokesman said some people using the 4WD tracks had run over the boxes, disabling some of the street lights. He added that the owners had spent tens of thousands of dollars on the clean up, which included removing the burned cars, debris and repairs as well as grass cutting and ongoing maintenance.
Central Hunter crime manager Detective Inspector George Radmore confirmed that police had increased patrols at HEZ in the past two weeks.
He said the improved surveillance was in response to reports of anti-social behaviour and driving offences in the area.
For years the almost entirely empty HEZ has had its roads blackened with tire marks from hoons.
A few weeks ago the gutters were filled with shattered glass, chunks of rubber and burned-out car bodies.
But the frustration reached tipping point in February when more than 30 tonnes of building waste was dumped next to a roundabout. At the time, members of the community who used the HEZ to walk dogs and ride bikes expressed fears the material could contain asbestos.
The Hunter-Central Coast Regional Illegal Dumping squad took samples from the site and their inquiries led to charges for a 46-year-old Thornton man.
Fortunately no asbestos was found, though the culprit was charged $4000 and ordered to pay the considerable clean-up costs.
The embattled HEZ was built decades ago during the last mining downturn. However the original developers walked away from the project after economic and environmental factors halted development. The development became controversial after the discovery of an endangered honeyeater in nearby bushland.