Vandals strike city property on weekend

City crews are cleaning up graffiti to signs, benches, two bridges and a few trees along Piper Creek Trail, from Kin Canyon to Westerner Park.

An inline skater passes a Waskasoo Park sign south of 32nd Street deliberately stripped of some paint by vandals Tuesday.

City crews are cleaning up graffiti to signs, benches, two bridges and a few trees along Piper Creek Trail, from Kin Canyon to Westerner Park.

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday night and Sunday morning.

Trevor Poth, the city’s parks superintendent, said that stretch of the city’s trail system doesn’t get any more vandalism than other trails located closer to residential areas.

But incidents of park vandalism do tend to increase when weather gets warmer, he said.

“It’s always so unfortunate when it happens. It takes our staff away from their regular jobs to focus on this,” Poth said on Tuesday.

“It just really ends up with us providing a decreased level of service in other parts of the park where we could be making the community’s experience better.”

An assessment is still underway so the exact number of signs and benches was not available, but doesn’t appear to be extensive, he said.

Signs must be washed or replaced. Benches need to be sanded. And damage to trees must be addressed.

“It’s very difficult to clean off the trees,” Poth said.

Elaine Johnson, the city’s urban forester, said depending on the age of a tree and the size of the damage, a wound like spray painting or the chemicals needed to remove the paint, can eventually kill a tree.

“It can leave it open to disease and decay,” Johnson said.

The bark is a tree’s skin and there is gas exchange via the tree trunk that can become clogged. Younger trees are more negatively impacted, she said.

Johnson said vandalism to city trees has increased in recent years.

People probably don’t realize the damage they are causing, which can take years to weaken or kill a tree, she said.

Poth encourages anyone who sees vandalism that has occurred, or spots vandals in the act, to call RCMP or city bylaw officers.

Under the city’s Community Standards Bylaw, vandalism nets a fine is $2,500 for the first offence.

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