Vandalism in the Central Okanagan is a growing concern

“Since 2005 they’ve tipped over our shed, shot pellet holes in it and kicked it in…”

Tanya Bunnah is fed up.

She’s fed up of walking into the her business, Blossom Montessori preschool, and seeing it ripped apart and frustrated by the disrespect that puts her community at risk.

“Since 2005 they’ve tipped over our shed, shot pellet holes in it and kicked it in,” said Bunnah, who’s situated in Lake Country.

“One year they took a pirate ship and put it on the roof of the school. If they’re not damaging things, they’re taking the tires and running them down the hill and I’ve found alcohol bottles on the playground.”

Windows have been smashed at the preschool and also at Peter Greer, the neighbouring elementary school.

“These things happen at least a couple of times a year and at least once a year there’s damage and I’m having to replace things,” said Bunnah. “We’re paying for it out of pocket to keep the insurance rates down and it’s not cheap. We pay our bills, but there’s not an overabundance of cash available to keep replacing these items.”

What’s really helped is that there are families connected to the preschool who volunteer and do different things to keep the playground going.

“But it’s so frustrating,” she said.

Bunnah said while she doesn’t know how to stop it from happening she hopes that her concerns can be heard by area parents.

“If parents could talk to their kids and be more aware of what they’re doing at 11 p.m. and 12 a.m., that would help,” she said, adding that she’s pretty sure it’s older kids doing the damage in the middle of the night.

“Go have your fun—but you’re wrecking little people’s playground … and that’s not OK.”

In the future, she said, the educational community is thinking about building a community garden, but she’s starting to question what it’s for.

If they can’t even keep a preschool clear of trouble, what hope is there for the garden, she said.

It’s not just Lake Country suffering from vandals.

Over in Kettle Valley there have also been some issues.

Investigators attended the Kettle Valley area Oct. 1 to obtain photographs of the damage caused and to speak with and gather further information from area residents.

“Police noted extensive damages caused, mainly as a result of graffiti and tagging, not only to Chute Lake Elementary School, but to business’ and infrastructure in that area,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“Police have also been informed of a notable increase of motor vehicles being entered during the overnight hours, in some cases where items are allegedly taken from within. Residents suspect that those responsible for the mischief may also be responsible for the theft and attempted theft from vehicles.”

RCMP have also learned that youths have been seen gathering and believed to be consuming alcohol in the area. Police ask parents to have a discussion with their children to ensure they are fully aware of the seriousness and potential consequences of under age drinking, and or the commission of criminal acts related to theft and mischief.

They are also encouraging all residents to ensure they report these crimes to police, as when they go un-reported, crime analysts are not in a position to identify trends, potentially identify suspects and provide real time information to RCMP officers for consideration for their proactive patrol efforts.

There is an investigation into the mischievous acts and they are asking the public to report suspicious activity to the police. Police have been in contact with school officials to assist with planning to deter future incidents from happening.

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kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

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