Vandalism leads to washroom closure at Kamloops park - InfoNews

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Vandalism leads to washroom closure at Kamloops park

The closed sign on the washroom door at the Centennial Spray Park.
Image Credit: Contributed by Steven Delaney
November 08, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Vandalism ranging from ripping photo murals to lighting fires inside the building means the heated washroom at Westsyde Centennial Park is closed for the foreseeable future.

Westsyde Community Development Society president Steven Delaney says the vandals have struck four or five times over the summer and while the city repeatedly fixed up the facilities, they are closing the washroom until things cool down.

“We have to close it down until the vandals quit,” Delaney says. “I don’t really know what can be done or when we can open up the washrooms again.”

The random acts of destruction are particularly disappointing for a few reasons, he says. The building housing the washroom was a community effort, with $126,000 raised by the society to build it. It houses the heated washroom, which park goers use to change for the outdoor rink in the winter or spray park in the summer, along with storage for gear like a snow blower and shovels. With the closure it could hamper some of the society’s operations.

“We did a lot of fundraising for that building,” Delaney says. “It makes it hard for our volunteers to do anything this winter with the ice rink.”

Some members of the society have a key for the washroom, so while they're there Delaney thinks the washroom might be open, but he doesn’t know how often or when that might be.

“We might only open it while we’re there working on the ice,” he says. “When we leave we’ll lock up the washrooms.”

The timing of the vandalism points towards school age perpetrators, Delaney says.

“This isn’t late night vandalism,” he says. “It seems to be school age kids who are doing it, the after school crowd.”

Because it happens in the late afternoon or early evening, he doesn’t think it’s late night partiers, and because the homeless population are unlikely to destroy something they can use as shelter, he reasons it’s local youth.

“This is just sort of a crime of opportunity,” Delaney says. “I don’t blame this on all the kids out here, there’s just a few.”

However, the vandalism makes it hard to support building things for youth in the community. Delaney supports building things for youth in Westsyde, like a skate park, but this takes some of the wind out of his sails.

Right now, his hope is for the closure to stir someone to take responsibility or step up to their friends.

“Hopefully someone will step up and apologize,” he says.

He expects the closure to impact park users, dog walkers and joggers who use Rivers Trail along the North Thompson River, though the closure could extend into the winter, affecting the outdoor rink users.

“They closed it more as a wake up for the neighbourhood,” he says. “There’s nothing like taking something away from the community to make people miss it.”

Security cameras have been suggested, but are too expensive for the community society to invest in.

Police are aware of the situation, Delaney says, and tips can be called in to the police or Crime Stoppers or emailed to the society at wcds@westsyde.info.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin 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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