Playground tunnel pepper-sprayed

Firefighters tape off playground equipment Wednesday after it was smeared with pepper spray and a child complained that his eyes and skin were burning. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Firefighters tape off playground equipment Wednesday after it was smeared with pepper spray and a child complained that his eyes and skin were burning.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

A Maple Ridge dad is questioning why the municipality took four days to clean equipment at a playground which was coated with pepper spray.

Robin Monkman reported the incident to police on Saturday night after he noticed a tunnel in a park off Fletcher Street was smeared with a bright orange-red residue.

Monk’s four-year-old son and wife complained about stinging eyes and skin when they returned home from the playground that night, even though they stayed away from the tunnel.

Monkman said he called 911 after trying to contact the District of Maple Ridge, but failed to reach a person.

A RCMP officer responded and told Monkman he would contact the municipality’s operations department after his shift ended Saturday night.

Monkman said the police officer told him not to worry and that the smeared residue was probably coffee.

On Wednesday, however, Monkman’s wife called him from the park to tell him his son’s eyes and skin were burning – again.

When he checked the playground tunnel by rubbing his little finger along its edge, he found the peppery orange residue was still inside.

The residue stung his skin when he rubbed it on his wrist.

“I reported it and it wasn’t dealt with properly,” said Monkman.

“It should have not been brushed off.”

The fire department taped off the tunnel on Wednesday after being called to the scene.

District crews washed it down the next day, but confirmed there was no complaint received about the pepper spray until Wednesday evening.

After hours

The district advises residents to call 604-463-9581 for any after-hour emergencies regarding municipal property.

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