News

Feces, nails part of vandalism in Maple Ridge park

Clayton Maitland shows some of the nails he found. One such nail punctured a wheel on the trailer he hauls for the district’s Environmental School Program. - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Clayton Maitland shows some of the nails he found. One such nail punctured a wheel on the trailer he hauls for the district’s Environmental School Program.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Vandalism at Allco Park has gone from disgusting to dangerous.

Students of the Environmental School Project have been using the park, at 248th Street and Alouette Road, for the past two weeks.

They recently arrived to find someone had put horse manure on the picnic tables. Then the horse manure was found on the handles of the metal bear-proof garbage cans. The toilet seat covers were glued into a down position. Next, dog feces was found on the handles of the garbage cans.

“That’s filthy, and you wonder why people are doing this,” said principal Clayton Maitland.

After two flat tires, one on the trailer he hauls for the program and another on a staff member’s vehicle, they scanned the area for nails – which they had found in the tires. They didn’t find nails spilled on the ground.

“They were intentionally put in with the sharp ends up, and covered with leaves,” Maitland observed.

The nails were on a roadway that runs along the Alouette River.

At that point, Maitland made police aware of the ongoing issues, and wanted to inform users of the park, which has popular horse riding trails.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Maitland.

He said the 80 students in the Environmental school have been disappointed by the vandalism in the parks where they are attending school.

Maitland said he is worried for people walking their dogs or riding horses in the area.

“I couldn’t imagine what would happen to a horse it if stepped on a three-inch nail, right in its frog (inside the hoof).”

It will not be an issue for the school for long. Elementary classes end on June 27 in the district.

But with the onset of summer holidays, he expects the park’s usage will actually increase.

The 27-acre site has picnic areas and trails for walking and riding.

The Rivers Heritage Centre, managed by the Alouette River Management Society (ARMS), is located on the grounds of the Alouette Correctional Facility and can be accessed via Allco Park.

The district parks department sent staff with metal detectors to comb the area and remove all of the nails, but no more were found than those Maitland and his staff discovered.

David Boag, the district director of parks and facilities, said he has followed up with ARMS and with Corrections officials about the issue. ARMS reported more vandalism – glue placed in locks.

“We’ll monitor this, and see if there’s any follow-up incidents,” he said.

Ridge Meadows RCMP are aware of the issue, and a spokesman said there could be more patrols in the area, as time permits, and police will follow leads offered by members of the public who see people acting suspicious in the park.

Noted the spokesman: “The first question rational people ask is, “why?”

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