LETTER: Vandalism by defecation more than just rude

By Contributor
August 17th, 2012

To the Editor;

The Christina Lake Stewardship Society (CLSS), along with volunteers and the Christina Lake Parks and Recreation Commission (CLPRC), recently undertook the project of updating the nature park kiosk. This kiosk is located just off the highway on Kimura Road, across from the Welcome Centre. In the past year there was an attempt to burn it down, resulting in charred posts and a melted piece of plexiglass. 

Paul Beattie, Carlo Crema and Dave Beattie spent time to clean up the debris and re-sand the wooden posts to make the kiosk presentable. CLPRC paid for a new piece of Lexan plastic glass to replace the melted one. Over the last week, staff of the CLSS and a Young Stewards volunteer spent hours creating new, updated materials to use in the kiosk. Some signs and posters were professionally printed.

On the day of installation, we were dismayed to find the kiosk surrounded by filth and garbage. It was mostly the usual, cigarette butts, wrappers, chewing gum, names and curse words scratched into the glass.

But then we discovered the crusted vomit under the picnic table, and the clincher – human excrement behind the kiosk.  Luckily, there was a shovel on hand, and we disposed of the waste.

Although disgusted, we continued our work. It took roughly six hours on the first day to take the glass down, clean it, take old materials off, and put new materials up. The second day took about four hours to finish the remaining panels.

While public defecation and other vandalism could be remonstrated in an article all on its own, I want to focus on the affect this had on those who worked on the project.

Not only were we disgusted, but we also began to have this sinking feeling about the success of our hard work.

How long before there was more gum on the glass? Or before there were broken beer bottles on the ground? Maybe it would be burned again.
It seems inevitable that our hard work and dollars spent will not be appreciated by some.

Is this lack of common courtesy (and hygiene) what we’ve come to expect as the fate of our public spaces? It is disheartening to realize that the efforts of volunteers and a non-profit group will likely end up being vandalized or completely destroyed.

I hope the kiosk gets used for its intended purpose; public education. In light of recent events, apparently this education needs to include some of the basics: this is not a bathroom or a garbage can (there are outhouses and trash cans nearby in the nature park).

Please respect the hard work and investments of others. If you pack it in, pack it out. Take responsibility for your actions and those of your friends, it would be nice if we could all enjoy these public spaces.  

Joanna deMontreuil

Project Assistant

Christina Lake Stewardship Society

Christina Lake, B.C.

Categories: GeneralIssuesOp/Ed