iN VIDEO: Plant vandalism, theft part of a growing issue in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: Plant vandalism, theft part of a growing issue in Kamloops

Plants installed in the Kamloops downtown area have been susceptible to damage and theft, this year more than ever.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
August 21, 2020 - 8:00 AM

There has been a steady increase of vandalism in the River City, but it's not quite the spray-painting and property damage you'd expect.

Bushes and flowers along the recently redone stretch of West Victoria Street were ripped from the ground and discarded along the road and sidewalk on Sunday night.

Jeff Putnam, the City’s parks and civic facilities manager, says this is one of several incidents that has occurred over the summer season.

“My horticulture staff are saying this summer has been really challenging for them because they’ve experienced a lot of theft and vandalism to plant material, and not just West Victoria but throughout the downtown area,” Putnam says. “Some common areas that we do see vandalism and theft of flowers is along Seymour and Victoria from end to end, and this year it seems to have gone to a higher level. My staff are telling me they estimate about $3,000 of stolen flowers so far.”

Although they have not previously tracked how often landscaping vandalism occurs, Putnam says his staff expect it has increased six-fold.

“It’s really challenging to keep up and not only costly, but it’s really difficult to replace them and it’s not great for the morale of my staff that work to make Kamloops so beautiful.”

The latest damage came at the tail end of the $13-million West Victoria upgrade project, which was just announced as completed Wednesday after 16 months of work. Putnam says they haven’t yet replaced all of the plants, because they have to assess what was damaged and look for replacements.

Putnam says it is most often the flowers and shrubs which are stolen or damaged, although sometimes trees in city parks are also vandalized. Although Putnam admits there is little they can do to prevent these acts from happening, defacing City plants can land you a steep fine if you’re caught.

“In the parks use regulation bylaw, it does talk about potential fines if you’ve been caught vandalizing trees or plant material... It can range anywhere from $100 up to thousands of dollars depending on the type of damage.”

On Sunday night at around 10:30 p.m., Kamloops resident Marc Smith noticed some plants ripped out along the recently completed West Victoria Street corridor. You can check out his footage below.

Credit: SUBMITTED / Marc Smith

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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