More than 100 plants were yanked from landscaping at Lakewood elementary school last Friday and Saturday nights in brazen acts of vandalism.
Leaving cratered and pockmarked earth in their wake, a vandal or vandals tossed plants around the grounds and onto the school’s roof. The new garden was planted in September and abuts the new playing field.
“This took place over two nights. They came on the 16th and then came back on the 17th,” said Pete Godau, SD 62 manager of facilities. “It is very disrespectful. It’s disrespectful for all of the students that come to the school.”
After the first night a neighbour of the school saw the mess and collected the scattered plants, put them in trays and brought them to his house, said SD 62 superintendent Jim Cambridge.
After the second night of damage the same man again collected the plants, and even brought a ladder to the school and retrieved the plants from the roof. “He was very helpful, we have saved a lot of the plants,” Godau said.
SD 62 staff have recovered the plants from the man, who hasn’t been named. The deciduous plants are dormant and cannot be replanted until the weather is warmer.
“Staff have repotted them and will try to replant them,” Cambridge said.
When schools are closed for winter holidays, SD 62 maintenance and grounds workers are on jobs they can’t do when the students are in class.
For cases such as this, it takes staff hours away from valuable work that needs to be done, Godau said.
“The problem is the vandalism cuts into our resources,” he said. “We already have very limited resources in that department.”
Anyone with information can call West Shore RCMP at 250-474-2264 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).