Rocks and planks were used to smash 35 historic windows at Rimbey’s PasKaPoo Park — including hand-painted 120-year-old church glass.
Vandalism to the 18-building heritage park on Thursday afternoon left park administrator Cheryl Jones in tears.
The coloured glass windows on Rimbey’s first church were called irreplaceable by an expert who had examined them with the idea of restoring some of the peeling paint, said Jones. “He said some of this glass was unbelievable. It was hand-painted, and you could see all these ripples and bubbles in it.”
Jones is now relieved the Rimbey Historical Society board hadn’t yet ordered the church window restoration — it would have been a sad waste of money.
One or more vandals were heard smashing windows in the church, the doctor’s office, store, trapper’s cabin, and other historic buildings in the park between 4 and 5 p.m., just after Jones went home for the day.
Rocks of all sizes were found in the damaged buildings. Jones noted that someone made a real effort to break the church’s windows, since they also shattered the Plexiglas window protectors. Other heritage windows appeared broken by wooden boards.
Rimbey RCMP is looking for witnesses to try to get a description of the suspect(s).
Jones said this is the worst vandalism since she started as park administrator 14 years ago. There’s no damage estimate yet, but Jones surmises it will be a considerable and the board will have to fundraise to cover the cost.
She praised community members who came to clean up as soon as they heard about the vandalism. More than a dozen people helped sweep up glass and board up windows.
PasKaPoo Park has always been open for the community’s enjoyment during the day. But since there’s no budget for a security guard, Jones said the Rimbey Historical Society will discuss whether to lock park gates earlier, or to install more security cameras and lighting.
“I sure hope (the vandals) will be caught,” she said, adding she’s dumbfounded anyone could have so little respect for public property and the town’s history.
Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Rimbey RCMP at 403-843-2224.