Enough is enough!

Spa­niard’s Bay coun­cil of­fers $500 re­ward to catch van­dals who at­tempted to burn recre­ation cen­tre

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY DENISE PIKE

The mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay has all he can take with van­dal­ism in his town. An in­ci­dent last week which al­most saw the recre­ation cen­tre go up in flames has prompted coun­cil to of­fer a sub­stan­tial re­ward for in­for­ma­tion lead­ing to the ar­rest of those re­spon­si­ble.

The mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay has had his fill of van­dal­ism in his town and is tak­ing action.

“Enough is enough,” says John Drover. “It’s time the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for beat­ing up town prop­erty are brought to jus­tice. If we catch them, they’ll be pros­e­cuted to the fullest ex­tent of the law! The only way to solve this prob­lem is catch th­ese id­iots and make an ex­am­ple of them. That’ll make the next per­son think twice about com­mit­ting van­dal­ism.”

Drover be­lieves the first step is to catch the van­dals who broke into and at­tempted to set a fire in­side the recre­ation cen­tre on the week­end of Feb. 27-28.

“ We (coun­cil) are of­fer­ing a $ 500 re­ward to any­one with in­for­ma­tion that leads to th­ese peo­ple be­ing caught,” he says. “Some­one some­where knows who did this and we’re hop­ing they will come for­ward with the in­for­ma­tion.”

The mayor says all calls and in­for­ma­tion will be held in strictest con­fi­dence.

“ We ( coun­cil) don’t sub­scribe to caller ID and the per­son giv­ing the in­for­ma­tion don’t even have to give their name. It can be done anony­mously,” he said. “ We just want to get th­ese peo­ple.”

The Avalon North Army Cadet Corps dis­cov­ered the break in at the Recre­ation Com­plex Sun­day Feb. 28. The cadets, as well as sev­eral other groups, use the build­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“ I don’t think there’s a day or night the build­ing isn’t be­ing used by some­one,” says Drover. “ It’s a com­mu­nity build­ing and we don’ t want it de­stroyed.”

Af­ter the van­dals broke into the recre­ation cen­tre they filled a pa­per cup with plas­tic straws, set it on the floor and tried lighting it. When that didn’t work they at­tempted to ig­nite it again by us­ing a can of aerosol and a box of tis­sues.

Drover says the dam­age to the recre­ation cen­tre was min­i­mal but could have been a lot worse.

“A few tiles on the floor were scorched a lit­tle, but thank­fully no ma­jor dam­age was done,” he says. “ How­ever as far as I am con­cerned this is a pure case of ar­son and it could have been so much worse. I can’t even think about what would have hap­pened if they had got­ten that fire go­ing. Not only could the build­ing have burned, but there are a num­ber of homes close by and they could have been de­stroyed as well. We would have had a very se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion on our hands.”

The van­dals also kicked in the door to a con­cert stage build­ing, lo­cated next to the recre­ation cen­tre.

This is the sec­ond time in the past month the recre­ation prop­erty has been hit by van­dals.

Some­time around the mid­dle of Fe­bru­ary some­one smashed the sec­ond car off the wooden train at the play­ground. The train cost the town $2,500 to build.

“ The train was some­thing the lit­tle kids loved play­ing on,” says deputy mayor Tony Men­chions who also heads up the town’s play­ground com­mit­tee.

“It is be­yond dis­cour­ag­ing. We work hard to put things in

“As far as I am con­cerned this is a pure case of ar­son and it could have been so much worse. I can’t even think about what would have hap­pened if they had got­ten that fire go­ing.”

— John Drover, mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay

“The only way to solve this prob­lem is to catch th­ese id­iots and make an ex­am­ple of them. That’ll make the next per­son think twice about com­mit­ting van­dal­ism.”

—John Drover, mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay

the town for res­i­dents to en­joy, to make it bet­ter and then a cou­ple of peo­ple come along and do some­thing as sense­less as this. This is a good town, the peo­ple here are very sup­port­ive and the ma­jor­ity of them would never even think of try­ing to beat up pub­lic prop­erty, but un­for­tu­nately it just takes a few to make it bad for every­one.”

Heart and soul

The Spa­niard’s Bay Recre­ation Com­plex also fea­tures a bas­ket­ball court and sev­eral ball­fields.

The area has a se­cu­rity sys­tem, un­for­tu­nately dur­ing the time of the break in, it wasn’t work­ing.

“Oh yes we had a few good cam­eras in place and for a while that worked, it kept van­dals at bay,” says Drover. “ But some­one even­tu­ally dam­aged the cam­eras and we couldn’t use them any­more.” The mayor says res­i­dents of his town de­serve bet­ter “A lot of money, time and en­ergy has gone into this fa­cil­ity,” he says. “Over the years we’ve had nu­mer­ous grants to up­grade the place and many vol­un­teers put in a lot of time keep­ing it run­ning.”

Pick­ing up a bro­ken piece of the train set, now stored in­side the com­mu­nity cen­tre wait­ing to be re­paired, he adds

“ Tony (deputy mayor) has put his heart and soul into rais­ing money for the play­ground and to build this train. Just look at it now!”

Not all van­dals

The recre­ation com­plex is lo­cated on Back Cove Road, di­rectly across the street from Holy Redeemer School. Sev­eral stu­dents dropped by dur­ing lunch hour to ex­press their dis­ap­point­ment to the mayor about the dam­age.

“ We don’t know who would do some­thing like this, but I think it was prob­a­bly peo­ple who are a lot older than we are,” says Grade 9 stu­dent Erin Sin­gle­ton of Til­ton. “ Kids our age and stu­dents from the school love com­ing here and don’t want to see it beat up.”

“ The sad thing is it is kids our age that will prob­a­bly get the blame or we’ll all be seen as be­ing tarred with the one brush,” adds Michael Vokey of Spa­niard’s Bay. “But we’re not all van­dals.”

A res­i­dent in the area, who didn’t want his name used out of fear of re­tal­i­a­tion, told The Com­pass he feels the RCMP could be do­ing more to catch those re­spon­si­ble.

“ This has been go­ing on for years,” he says. “ The peo­ple do­ing this are hang­ing out at the com­plex, drink­ing and dop­ing it up and they’re not get­ting caught, or they are get­ting caught and be­ing let off with just a warn­ing or some­thing like that. The cops know who is hang­ing out here, but there’s noth­ing be­ing done about it.”

Mean­while mem­bers of the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion RCMP are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent. Any­one with in­for­ma­tion is asked to call the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion RCMP at 596-5014 or Crime Stop­pers.

SMASHED UP-From left: Spa­niard’s Bay mayor John Drover and deputy mayor Tony Men­chions gather up pieces of a wooden toy train that was van­dalised last month at the town’s recre­ation com­plex.

Denise Pike pho­tos/The Com­pass

KICKED IN - From left: Tony Men­chions, deputy mayor and John Drover, mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay check out the door­frame of the con­cert stage build­ing (next to the recre­ation com­plex) that was kicked in by van­dals last week.

TRAIN WRECK - Tony Men­chions, deputy mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay as­sesses the dam­ages caused by van­dals to a wooden train at the play­ground at the Spa­niard’s Bay Recre­ation Com­plex. The train cost the town around $2,500 to build.

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