KAMLOOPS - While two washrooms were burned and damaged this fall, public parks in Kamloops don't appear to have a vandalism problem, according to the city.
The heated washroom in Westsyde’s Centennial Park is once again open after it was shut down due to small fires, cracked mirrors and broken stalls. In Juniper Ridge, the washroom near the playground and tennis courts is still closed after someone caused damage with a large rock or sledge hammer, says parks supervisor Shawn Cook.
In Westsyde, the heated washroom was closed for a couple weeks to try to stop the destruction of its interior after repeated attacks caused damage. However, the damage appears to be minimal, costing the city less than $5,000 altogether, Cook estimates. It has been reopened.
“The last few months starting probably beginning of September there was quite a bit of vandalism,” he says. “It’s unfortunate; it’s a year round washroom. It’s supposed to service the park when the ice rink is open.”
Juniper Park’s washroom remains closed after a single incident where it appears someone went in with a large rock or sledge hammer to smash things in September, but Cook believes it to be a one-off incident. A portable washroom has been installed as a temporary replacement.
The vandalism appears to be occurring in the late afternoon or early evening, and both washrooms are locked around 9 or 10 p.m. Westsyde Community Development Society president Steven Delaney has said he believes it to be youth bored after school.
Cook says with the fall weather there are fewer people in the parks, giving vandals a bigger window to strike.
City bylaw officers have been asked to increase patrols in Centennial Park and Cook says RCMP are also aware of the situation.
Additionally, he commends the local community watch associations for getting the word out and keeping an eye on parks during weekends.
“Community associations are so heavily invested,” he says. “[In Westsyde] they have a block watch group, they go out on the weekends. It’s drastically reduced the vandalism in that park.”
Besides security measures, the city tries to schedule when the sprinklers come on in a way that minimizes the opportunities for vandalism, but Cook says due to the nature of parks, there's always going to be some damage.
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