How should the city respond to the vandalism being committed at Port Robinson East Park?
As ThoroldToday reported—the park has been plagued by acts of vandalism, including broken glass bottles being left behind as well as some damage to signs.
During a discussion on the matter at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, the city’s director of public works and community services, Geoff Holman, suggested that the Niagara Regional Police (NRP) deal with the matter.
“Part of the issue that we have with Port Robinson East Park—and just about every park—is just how proactive can we be?” Holman told council members. “We can try and catch them in the act and ask the police to take appropriate action. They have indicated they will add it to their list but we know their resources are strained and that they won’t be able to prevent things like this from happening.”
A report submitted to City Hall by Port Robinson resident Ron Devereux suggests that some of the culprits behind the vandalism drive their ATVs into the park to create havoc.
“The ATVs are coming from a general area,” Councillor Fred Neale told his fellow council members. “They come all the way from Thorold South, all the way to Port Colborne. They do it every single day and they just enjoy going here, there, and everywhere. Maybe we can stop them from going into the actual park.”
Councillor Victoria Wilson floated the idea of putting up barriers, which was met enthusiastically by other councillors. Installing security cameras was brought up as well, but Holman indicated that he is concerned about the associated costs.
“There is a policy we approved earlier in the term that talked about justifying the need to have cameras,” Holman said. “That justification is still kind of subjective. Is once bad enough? Is four times enough? I would like to rely on the police who have some expertise on how to deal with some of the security issues.”
Whatever the solution may be, Councillor Jim Handley said that the time to act is now.
“We’ve probably been talking about it for fifteen years,” he said. “We’ve continuously talked about getting reports but we never have gotten a report that we can actually use as a budgetary item and finally resolve these issues. We’ve tried different options. It’s just been band aids.”
In the end, councillors directed City Hall to put together a follow-up report that will explore putting up barriers, and will include additional recommendations from the NRP.