Enough is enough!
Spaniard’s Bay council offers $500 reward to catch vandals who attempted to burn recreation centre
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.
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.