Close call in Spaniard's Bay

Terry Roberts
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Recreation complex targeted by vandals; culprits play with fire

Community leaders in this growing Conception Bay North community are both relieved and frustrated following a weekend incident at the recreation complex that could have easily ended in disaster.

Someone broke into the recreation centre overnight Saturday and carelessly played with fire inside the building. They also kicked in the door to a nearby enclosed concert stage.

A break-in at the recreation centre in Spaniard's Bay during the weekend nearly got out of hand after those responsible attempted to light a fire in the building. Here, Mayor John Drover displays a cup of singed straws. There are also two scorch marks on

Community leaders in this growing Conception Bay North community are both relieved and frustrated following a weekend incident at the recreation complex that could have easily ended in disaster.

Someone broke into the recreation centre overnight Saturday and carelessly played with fire inside the building. They also kicked in the door to a nearby enclosed concert stage.

It's the second incident of vandalism in as many weeks at the complex. Last weekend, someone damaged a wooden train in an adjacent playground.

The train cost $2,500 and was a popular attraction for area children.

Mayor John Drover and other members of council were expressing disbelief and anger Monday.

"We want to take this to the limit of the law," Drover said as he toured the complex and described how important the facility has become to the town.

Two scorch marks could still be seen on the centre's tiled floor, and a cup filled with singed straws was still sitting on the counter at the canteen.

A group of cadets using the centre for training Sunday evening discovered the break-in. In one area of the floor, someone tried to use an aerosol can and a box of tissues to light a fire, Drover explained.

Drover said it's almost too difficult to imagine how devastating it would have been if the building had burned down, or if those responsible were injured or killed carrying out such a senseless act.

He said the complex is a centre of activity, and a serious fire could have flattened the facility and nearby homes.

"We're very lucky. There was very little damage," he said.

Such acts are not common in the town, and just in case a trend may be developing, council is taking extraordinary measures to forestall future incidents.

Council is offering a $500 reward to anyone who can provide information that leads to a conviction in the case. And there are plans to reactivate a security system at the recreation centre. The RCMP is investigating the incident.

Spaniard's Bay is a town of roughly 2,800 residents, sandwiched between Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace.

The recreation complex is located on Back Cove Road, directly across the street from Holy Redeemer Elementary.

It consists of a community centre, playground, basketball court and two ballfields. The facility is being continually upgraded, with the help of numerous volunteers and government grants.

Several young students eating their lunch near the property on Monday said they didn't know anything about the weekend incident, but were disappointed to hear about it.

"We finally get some things here and people try to beat it up," said one teen.

Deputy Mayor Tony Menchions said it's the first time in his memory that someone has broken into the recreation centre. He hopes it's the last time.

"Things like this ... it's very disheartening," he said.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Conception Bay, Bay Roberts, Back Cove Road

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Recent comments

  • Chuck
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    I worked as the summer recreation program director for 3 summers and vandalism was a problem back then and council was well aware of it. They burned the vinyl siding on the building, defecated on the premises, urinated everywhere, did donuts on the ball field with atvs and trucks, threw bottles and rocks against the building. The vandalism to this building and playground is anything but new. As a matter of fact it has been ongoing for quite some time. I'm glad to see they may finally do something about it, but it is LONG OVERDUE.

    It's odd that the people who live within 50 feet of the facility never see anything happen.

  • Chuck
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    I worked as the summer recreation program director for 3 summers and vandalism was a problem back then and council was well aware of it. They burned the vinyl siding on the building, defecated on the premises, urinated everywhere, did donuts on the ball field with atvs and trucks, threw bottles and rocks against the building. The vandalism to this building and playground is anything but new. As a matter of fact it has been ongoing for quite some time. I'm glad to see they may finally do something about it, but it is LONG OVERDUE.

    It's odd that the people who live within 50 feet of the facility never see anything happen.