Vandals, thieves target provincial Sports Centre

John
John Browne
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Provincial Sports Centre manager Rod Snow stands outside the facility that has been the target of vandals and thieves in recent months. Telegram file photo

St. John's -

The $6.8 million Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre, which opened two years ago, has become a target for vandals and thieves, and facility manager and high performance director Rod Snow said it has become a "a significant problem for us."
Snow said three cars were broken into and some items stolen during the recent Volleyfest tournament at the St. John's facility, situated on Crosbie Road. He said, as with previous break-ins, the police were notified
"Clearly," said Snow, "we are seriously concerned the Sports Centre, provincial sports organizations and our users have been victimized by these crimes."
Snow said while there have been vandalism problems since the facility opened, car break-ins and theft "have really only been over the last two months and they only occur on the busiest nights or (during) special events when the parking lot is full."
As far as the Sports Centre is concerned, he said there is a large sign in the PowerPlex lobby warning people not to leave anything in their cars.
"On top of this," he added, "we have made announcements to users and spectators at special events about the recent rash of vehicle break-ins in the area.
The Sports Centre had a vandalism problem even before it officially opened in July of 2008. It cost the Centre $15,000 to replace broken windows, although that problem has been rectified by the installation of $20,000 worth of steel security screens.
"Combating graffiti is not too significant. (It requires) a bucket of paint per month as well as labour costs, but it adds up over time," said Snow. "Small fires (in the area) have also been an issue."Snow said vandalism is a problem in the general area around the Sports Centre and noted the Swilers Rugby Complex, which is adjacent to the Centre, has had a storage container burnt out, numerous fires set to the club's deck, fires on the field, and doors battered from attempted break-ins.
"My understanding," said Snow, "is that the Swilers have hosted the Crosbie Road Tenants Association and Neighborhood Watch groups in the area at the club to also help combat the problems."
Snow said the City of St. John's has indicated vandalism is "a significant problem" throughout the city and not just at the Sports Centre.
"In any case," he added, "there have been increased police patrols in the area and we have certainly noticed their presence.
"Besides notifying the police for extra patrols, we've had extra staff on to patrol the parking lot at regular intervals and have observed some benefit from it," explained Snow who is frustrated by the vandals boldness.
"On occasions when our staff have seen suspicious characters in the parking lot, they've alerted them to our presence, called the police to file a report and still suffered a break-in later in the evening.
"This past weekend," he added, "one of the break-ins was in broad daylight at our busiest time and (with) equally busy parking lot, with people coming and going at almost every minute of the day.
"The perpetrators of these crimes do not seem to be concerned or deterred by daylight or the presence of Sports Centre's users and staff. If these criminals see anything valuable in a vehicle, even as little as pocket change, the consequences and risks associated with the theft seem to be of little bother or trouble for them," said Snow.
"I understand and share the frustrations of the victims of the vandalism and theft. Clearly, we want people to enjoy this incredible facility without the worry and bother associated with these crimes.
Snow said the Centre will continue to make every effort to deny the vandals and thieves "the opportunity to diminish the enjoyment of participating and attending events, though at times he admitted, "It's been a real struggle.
"It's regrettable, but understandable that these type of things tarnish our reputation which is otherwise intact as a fantastic facility for the training and competition for athletes in multiple sports from all over the province."

Organizations: Sports Centre, Crosbie Road Tenants Association

Geographic location: St. John's

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Neighborhood watch
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    If the people/children living the neighborhood were proud of their area they would help to work against the few bad apples.
    Try working with the people that live there and ask for their help and ask what you can do for them.

  • jamie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    what you expect bldg something in da hood

  • shawn
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    maybe if kids from the area with no money were aloud to use it when it is not being used by people with money then maybe the trouble would decress alot

  • Sport Complex Patron
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    A security person should be patrolling the parking lot at all times when the facitlity is being frequented by patrons. Maybe even a night time security guard for protection against vandalism and arson. Not sure why they couldn't justify the proper protection for a new $6.8 million dollar facility and its patrons?!

  • Albert
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Yes, Lisa.
    It should have been built in a wealthier area of town on land that costs way more, which in turn would have made access fees so expensive that only the wealthy could make use of it. Poor people are too busy vandalizing and stealing to use it anyway, right?

    Lots of people, the not-so-wealthy included, appreciate a facility such as this one in their community; these neighborhoods are often plagued by a few rotten apples who give them a nasty reputation. These types of facilities can often turn a 'problem' neighborhood into a better one; it just takes time.

  • mainlander
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    why is it nothing can be built without some idiots having to beat the crap out of it? There is no pride in neighbourhoods or properties for these morons. They have no fear of getting caught or any consequences.

  • Lisa
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    The first problem was building such a magnificint facility in an area known for such activity. Why not pick locations where the people in the area appreciate such gestures instead of waiting for something new to vandalize and steal.

  • steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    Shouldn't have been built there in the first. Parfrey and his rugby clowns got their own way and had it built on their grounds. I bet rugby won't be paying for the repairs though.

  • TheSpooker
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    I think that place is really cool, I was never inside but I can't believe that those friggin troubled kids decide they are going to vandalize or rob these premises, in fact I actually feel sorry for the people who cause this kind of trouble because I have a feeling that the reason why kids turn rotten is because obviously they come from broken homes, grow up exposed to domestic violence and crap like that, in fact I was planning on moving into the adjacent apartment blocks in the area but I might want to think twice about that.

  • Rob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I think that Steve's comments are not appropriate. Personally I have not always agreed with Dr. Parfrey. But to call him or members of the rugby community clowns shows little class. The provincial trainning center would be be there if it were not for the efforts of the rugby community and in particular Dr. Parfrey. He was one that pushed the idea from the beginning. He played a big role in getting corporate and government support. Both of these groups like to be associated with winners.

  • Yo mama
    July 02, 2010 - 13:09

    I rotate in and out of Singapore from St. John's and I offer a simple solution, bring in the Singaporean police for a little, I guarantee zero vandalism, theft and grafitti...nothing says Behaving like a split open arse. Any kid in Canada knows getting caught at any of these nuisance crimes is just a verbal warning. Singapore's laws make it the safest and most beautiful city in the world, we could make millions from tourism too if we just break out the whips.

  • Neighborhood watch
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    If the people/children living the neighborhood were proud of their area they would help to work against the few bad apples.
    Try working with the people that live there and ask for their help and ask what you can do for them.

  • jamie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    what you expect bldg something in da hood

  • shawn
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    maybe if kids from the area with no money were aloud to use it when it is not being used by people with money then maybe the trouble would decress alot

  • Sport Complex Patron
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    A security person should be patrolling the parking lot at all times when the facitlity is being frequented by patrons. Maybe even a night time security guard for protection against vandalism and arson. Not sure why they couldn't justify the proper protection for a new $6.8 million dollar facility and its patrons?!

  • Albert
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Yes, Lisa.
    It should have been built in a wealthier area of town on land that costs way more, which in turn would have made access fees so expensive that only the wealthy could make use of it. Poor people are too busy vandalizing and stealing to use it anyway, right?

    Lots of people, the not-so-wealthy included, appreciate a facility such as this one in their community; these neighborhoods are often plagued by a few rotten apples who give them a nasty reputation. These types of facilities can often turn a 'problem' neighborhood into a better one; it just takes time.

  • mainlander
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    why is it nothing can be built without some idiots having to beat the crap out of it? There is no pride in neighbourhoods or properties for these morons. They have no fear of getting caught or any consequences.

  • Lisa
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    The first problem was building such a magnificint facility in an area known for such activity. Why not pick locations where the people in the area appreciate such gestures instead of waiting for something new to vandalize and steal.

  • steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:01

    Shouldn't have been built there in the first. Parfrey and his rugby clowns got their own way and had it built on their grounds. I bet rugby won't be paying for the repairs though.

  • TheSpooker
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    I think that place is really cool, I was never inside but I can't believe that those friggin troubled kids decide they are going to vandalize or rob these premises, in fact I actually feel sorry for the people who cause this kind of trouble because I have a feeling that the reason why kids turn rotten is because obviously they come from broken homes, grow up exposed to domestic violence and crap like that, in fact I was planning on moving into the adjacent apartment blocks in the area but I might want to think twice about that.

  • Rob
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    I think that Steve's comments are not appropriate. Personally I have not always agreed with Dr. Parfrey. But to call him or members of the rugby community clowns shows little class. The provincial trainning center would be be there if it were not for the efforts of the rugby community and in particular Dr. Parfrey. He was one that pushed the idea from the beginning. He played a big role in getting corporate and government support. Both of these groups like to be associated with winners.

  • Yo mama
    July 01, 2010 - 19:44

    I rotate in and out of Singapore from St. John's and I offer a simple solution, bring in the Singaporean police for a little, I guarantee zero vandalism, theft and grafitti...nothing says Behaving like a split open arse. Any kid in Canada knows getting caught at any of these nuisance crimes is just a verbal warning. Singapore's laws make it the safest and most beautiful city in the world, we could make millions from tourism too if we just break out the whips.