PONOKA, Alta. — A brand new community gymnasium in central Alberta that was just a few weeks away from opening has been trashed by vandals.
The Ponoka Gymnastics and Trampoline Club was broken into last Saturday, just two days after workers had finished drywalling the facility.
Glass was shattered and walls were broken and spray-painted with swastikas and the words ’white power.’
The gym was to open in late April or early May.
Officials now say they may have to wait until the fall before opening the doors.
There’s no word on the damage estimate, and police have not made any arrests.
Annette Fenske, the club’s volunteer co-ordinator, says the crime has shocked everyone.
“It’s totally devastating. We’ve been working at this for 10 years, fundraising like crazy and getting parent volunteers to work in here and then to have this happen? Just totally devastated.”
The club had received financial support from area businesses and other sponsors. Barry Groves, president of the club, says the community has rallied around the building. He described the vandalism as “traumatic.”
“I’m very hurt, very disappointed. Pretty shocking. I haven’t seen that stuff, personally, for a lot of years. It’s surprising that’s still out there.”
Groves said he hopes the owner of the old facility might be able to let the club use that space until the new building opens.
A post on the gym’s Facebook page says a cleaning bee will be held to get the facility back in shape. (Global Edmonton)